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Daughters for Sale


Project Name: Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation: Indentured Daughters Program
Challenge: Unable to make ends meet, many families in western Nepal have been forced to sell their daughters to work far from home as bonded servants.
Solution: Provide desperate families with an incentive to keep their daughters: a piglet or a goat that can ultimately be sold for a sum equivalent to that of their child's labor.

Founded by Olga Murray, The Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation (NYOF) is a nonprofit organization based in California that helps children half a world away in Nepal. When the NYOF became aware of the practice of selling daughters in the Dang District in western Nepal, they traveled to the region to find out why families were engaging in such a horrific practice. They found families living in extreme poverty, some having 10 or 12 children. Considering that the average income is $210 per year for an entire family in Nepal it was no wonder families were struggling to put food on the table. It was easy to see how the average of between $40 and $70 that the "sale" of a daughter would bring in was significant to these families. But to the girls, some as young as six, their lives after being sold meant living conditions entirely at the discretion of their employers, seldom attending school, and sometimes even forced into prostitution.

In conjunction with local villagers, NYOF developed a plan to bring these daughters home and keep them there. If families allowed their daughters to live at home and attend school (at NYOF's expense) instead of being sent off to work, NYOF would compensate them for their daughters' lost wages. They had first planned to reimburse the families with cash. But mothers in the community begged them not to give money to their husbands as alcoholism is rife in the area. Instead each family participating received a piglet or a goat, which they could ultimately sell or breed for more cash. NYOF says it costs $100 to rescue a girl, pay her education expenses for a year, and compensate her parents for the lost wages.

The group says through its program it has brought thousands of girls home to live with their families. But there's still a lot of work to do. Around 20,000 to 25,000 girls are bonded away each year, according to NYOF.

Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation
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