Child Workers in Nepal - History


CWIN’s founder-president was Gauri Pradhan. Immediately after graduating in law from Tribhuvan University(the later),they and some colleagues decided to do something about children’s rights in Nepal, and particularly child labour. After a year of discussion, they founded CWIN on 1 January 1987. Since then CWIN has grown from a small local group in Kathmandu to an organisation that is now recognised internationally.

CWIN's first assignment was a study of the conditions of street children in Kathmandu. This was the first of numerous academic research projects which CWIN has undertaken into various industries, and more generally into various aspects of children’s rights.

In 1987 CWIN began translating into Nepali the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It urged the government to ratify the Convention, which it did in 1990, becoming one of the first countries to do so.

In 1988 it organised the first South Asian Workshop on Working Children, which agreed to form a standing South Asian Forum on the Rights of the Child.

In 1989 CWIN began to provide practical support for street children in Kathmandu, by opening a “common room” where they could rest and get medical help, and finding school places for some of them. In 1995 it established a centre for street children and other children at risk in Pokhara. In 1994 CWIN opened Balika Home, a residential crisis-intervention centre, which provides support for the girl survivors of labour exploitation, sexual abuse, trafficking, domestic violence, and torture, and for girls affected by the armed conflict. In 1999 it opened a support centre at the main Kathmandu bus station for children migrating to the city.

CWIN supported Jan Andolan, the 1990 People's Movement, which sought to overthrow Nepal’s non-party political system, under which the monarch had absolute power. Some of CWIN’s leaders were arrested, and some sought exile. The king eventually conceded power, and multi-party elections were held in 1991. CWIN urged all the political parties to commit themselves to implementing legislation which would respect children’s rights, it made recommendations about including children’s rights in the new Constitution of Nepal, and it drafted a Children’s Act for the new Parliament.

CWIN was formally registered in 1991 with the Social Service National Co-ordination Council and district authorities, as a child rights’ activist and advocacy organisation.

In 1992 CWIN persuaded the Government to ratify the International Labour Organization’s convention to end the worst forms child labour. The following year it participated in the formation of the National Association for the Protection of Children and the Environment, and the Children at Risk Networking Group. In 1996 it formed the first of almost 300 Child Rights’ Forums throughout Nepal.

In 1996 CWIN helped rescue 142 Nepali girls from brothels in Mumbai, and won the first court case related to child labour, securing compensation for the tortured victim. In 1998 it drew public attention to the problem of child sex tourism, and assisted the police in arresting a foreign national who had set up a care home where he sexually abused children.

Over the years CWIN has expanded its practical support for street children in Kathmandu and Pokhara; opened free telephone help lines for children in Kathmandu, Hetauda, Nepalgunj, Pokhara and Biratnagar; and opened a hostel for school-aged children who have no parental support.

CWIN conducts research on the violation of children’s rights, in order to influence the Government and other decision-making bodies. It has a National Resource and Information Centre, which is a mine of information on children’s rights. CWIN has two websites: and . CWIN publishes monthly e-newsletters in English and Nepali and disseminates them worldwide. It also publishes reports, fact-sheets and other material in audio-visual and print formats. It runs a knowledge-based programme: Local Action against Alcohol and Drugs.

Advocacy has always been an important component of CWIN's work. It organises lobbying and campaigns, publishes advocacy material, and organises training and community action in furtherance of children’s rights. It runs classes for adolescent girls from deprived areas on empowerment.

CWIN’s history is intertwined with that of Nepal, which between 1990 and 2007 turned itself from an absolute monarchy into a democratic republic, enduring a ten-year bloody civil war in the process. (Gauri Pradhan, CWIN’s founder-president, was arrested by the Government in 2005, but was released on the orders of the Supreme Court.) In almost the same period CWIN has turned itself from a group of students with an idea into a major force improving the lives of children in Nepal.

The information in this section was sourced from an independent report into CWIN.

Read more about this topic:  Child Workers In Nepal

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