More than 20,000 Nepalese migrant laborers work in the Himalayan district of Ladakh, North India, mostly in house and road construction. They have migrated from Nepal to India for reasons of economic hardship. Many of them were, in fact, sold into a situation of bonded labor – the modern form of slavery. Their hardships are numerous: displaced from their homes, families and communities in Nepal, despised by the indigenous Ladakhis, exposed to the many dangers of working at high altitude. They work incredibly hard and continue to live in extreme poverty. What’s more, the nature of their work demands a high degree of mobility, especially those working in road construction. They usually live in tents on the roadside, moving along with their work, without permanent or proper housing.
Many of these Nepalese migrant laborers are not just individuals, but families with children. Often, the mobility of their parents’ work doesn’t allow for the children to go to school. As a result, children as little as eight years old simply join their parents’ hard labor at the dusty road construction sites in the Himalayas. Needless to say that their future looks extremely bleak. Without education, they are set to become the same as their parents—slaves.
Himalayan Life is standing in the gap for these slave children by providing a home and boarding school facilities in Leh, Ladakh. Presently, 75 children are being cared for holistically by our loving staff at the “Himalayan Friendship Home”. Rather than growing up in laborer camps, the children are provided a safe environment, receiving nurture, and education.
The hostel strives to help the children develop their potential, as well as meet the children’s social, physical, intellectual, emotional, creative and spiritual needs. The hostels location in Leh, the central township of Ladakh, allows for the families to stay in fairly close contact with their children.
Home for migrant worker families (Ladakh) – The project in a nutshell:
- A home and schooling for Nepalese migrant worker children in Ladakh, North India.
- Located in Leh, Ladakh, at an altitude of 12,000 ft.
- Presently 76 children enrolled.
- 8 loving, competent caregivers.
- Project affiliation with the Moravian Mission School.
- Adult literacy classes for parents and other Nepalese migrant laborers.
- Annual budget (2018): CAD 90,000.
- Project partner and supervision: HL-Switzerland