Harwa-Charwa is an extreme form of bonded labour. Although, the Constitution of Nepal, 2015 has officially abolished bonded labour system in the country, Harwa-Charwa still prevails as a pure form of bondage labour in many eastern terai districts of Nepal. The acute poverty has led these communities towards a never ending vicious trap of debt. As a form of interest for the loan granted, grains provided or land leased for farming to the Harwa-Charwa community. They are forced to work at minimal wages or even free for their landlords. The capacity enhancement and leadership development of the National Harwa-Charwa rights forum (NHCRF) is crucial for this inhuman practice to be stopped from the root, and make the Harwa-Charwa movement for emancipation succeed.
In this setting, an advocacy strategy development workshop was organized from 24th-25th December 2018 in Lahan. This workshop had mainly three vital objectives. First, creating a platform to share the learning of other movements, and utilize its reflection in the Harwa-Charwa movement. Second, develop a robust advocacy strategy in participation of all local partners, and the national Harwa Charwa rights forum. Lastly, finalize the demands of the Harwa-Charwa for submission to the local, Provincial, and Central Level. The workshop was successfully completed in presence of 51 participants (Dalit-30 and Female-15) representing twelve local implementing, members of national Harwa-Charwa rights forum, land rights activists, and The Freedom Fund.
Ras Lal Ram, the general secretary of the NHCRF inaugurated the workshop by sharing the current status of the Harwa-Charwa community. He emphasized that not only the right of living a dignified life is deprived from a Harwa-Charwa, but the future of our upcoming generations has also been violated by the state and the local government alike. The future of the Harwa-Charwa generation has been entangled in trap of debt, poverty, lack of education and landlessness. “This movement is born from a need. A need for a dignified life and a demand to secure the future of our children. Today’s workshop will provide us with a path, and the NHCRF will walk on this path. While, all the organizations must support us “the general secretary added.
Whilst, Darshan Mandal, the chairperson of NHCRF highlighted the importance of movement for bringing radical changes. “Big changes come with bigger struggles. This movement now requires a momentum which will be provided by the strategy we finalize today. And, I request all to join and support this movement “.