Friday, March 9, 2012

Suma sings for Kamlaris

Suma Tharu opened the third annual Women in the World Summit at the Lincoln Centre with a poignant song about her time as an indentured servant in Nepal.

Her song isn’t only about her experience, it’s about the thousands and thousands of Nepali girls who remain trapped in the Kamlari practice of indentured servitude. She was rescued after six years of hard labour and abuse, but many of her friends have not.

Listen to Suma, age 16, singing the song she wrote about the inequalities she endured as a former indentured servant. The song is for thousands of Kamlaris like her who don’t have a voice.

Tharu girls from Dang, Banke, Bardia, Kailali, and Kanchanpur districts of Nepal are 'sold' through middlemen to far-off homes and businesses after a verbal contract with the parents during the winter festival of Maaghi, and down payment of few thousand rupees. The contract is for a year, but it continues as parents receive annual payments through middlemen who are often the only ones who know where the girl is. The girls get just food and clothes, and in rare cases, some education. Informal surveys put an estimate of 20,000 to 25,000 girls from the five Tharu districts of Western Nepal trapped as Kamlaris.

Thanks @LaurenMitte: Suma poses with Secretary Clinton and Meryl Streep. Click the Twitter link below to view the picture.

Suma-@10x10act film 4 #girlseducation-w Sec.Clinton&MerylStreep=powerful women changing the world! RT @MerylStreepSite…


  1. Thanks Sanjib sir for wider sharing of the story of SUMA THARU and Kamlaris spread over the terai of mid- and far western Development Regions of Nepal. The kamlaris are mostly the daughters and/or wife of freed bond labour (kamaiyas) as they have not enough land to feed the whole family and they have no alternative job to buy sufficient food.

    The Development workers and policy makers has to think about the problem to identify and implement the suitable solution.