Our newest Remake Journey sheds light on one of the cheapest forms of labor in the fashion industry – children. Globally 170 million children are forced to work in factories. The Remake team travelled 30+ hours to Kathmandu, Nepal to pass the mic back to one of these brave children.
This is Nirmila’s story.
“I was born in central Nepal in a town called Tulasi. Living there we often did not have enough food. Some days we didn’t eat at all. My parents used to drink a lot and fight. We couldn’t control them. I was scared and I didn’t know where to go, or what to do. When I was 8 years old, I ran away with my friends to Kathmandu. To make money, my friends suggested we work in a factory. I was excited and happy at first, that I could finally earn. I was really interested in learning the work too. Then slowly the abuse began.”
Children in factories are often told they are being paid and that the money is being sent home. But the money never arrives.
“It was very hard. My hands used to shake while weaving all day long. I had cuts and bruises. The blood from the cuts on my hands would fall onto the carpets. When we could no longer work, they used to beat us. I began to regret running away. For two years I cried. I was 10 years old at the time.”
At 10 years old, Nirmila had enough.
Shoeless, with only a small piggy bank in her hands, she walked to the front steps of a children’s rehabilitation center.
“When I went to the transit home, I was very scared and withdrawn at first. Then slowly I started making friends. I started sharing my thoughts. I began to do well at school.”
“Now my family condition is very good. Though I’m not that good at science, I like it. This past Dashain festival, I went home and talked to my parents. My brother supports my wish to stay in school. They all understood how important education is. Now I am very happy.”
“I want to say that, I hope people know my story. And I hope that no one, no student ever faces what I have faced. I hope this story is never repeated in any child’s life.”
Moved to take action? Here are three ways that you can get involved:
1.Share this story: June 12th is World Day Against Child Labor. Each year governments, employers and everyday shoppers come together to draw attention to and commit to eradicating modern day slavery and child labor. Share Nirmila’s story and tag how you plan to #remakeourworld and #wearyourvalues
3. Donate: help us bring back stories of the human hands that bring our fashion to life. A donation of any size is a way to make the invisible people who make our clothes visible.
Film work by Matt Barkin of Vibrant Films.