Child Workers in Nepal

Child Workers in Nepal

Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN) is a major NGO, (non-governmental organization), working as an advocate for children’s rights, and supporting child labourers, street children, children being exploited sexually, and child victims of violence. Its objective is to protect the rights of the child in Nepal. It was established in 1987, when an informal group of students at Tribhuvan University, taking a lead from Child Workers in Asia (CWA), investigated the conditions of street children in Kathmandu. It sees itself as a watchdog in the field of child rights in Nepal, acting as a voice for disadvantaged and exploited children, through lobbying, campaigning and pressurising the government to protect and promote children's rights, and to end exploitation, abuse and discrimination against children. [1]

CWIN has a philosophy of working with children, summed up in its motto “for children, with children”. It works with the Government of Nepal to develop child-friendly policies, but criticises the Government if it fails to prevent violations of children’s rights. [2]



CWIN’s founder-president was Dhruba Kumar Kasaju and Gauri Pradhan.[3] 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.[4] 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: [1] and [2]. 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.[5] (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.[6]

Members of CWIN

Founding Members

  • Dhruba Kumar Kasaju
  • Gauri Pradhan
  • Bijaya Sainju
  • Rupa Dhital
  • Sumnima Tuladhar
  • Sudarshan Pradhan

2008 Executive Members

  • Gauri Pradhan - Founder President
  • Sumnima Tuladhar Pradhan - Executive Co-ordinator
  • Madhav Pradhan - Chairman
  • Krishana Sundari Shrestha - Vice chairman
  • Tarak Dhital - Secretary
  • Subodh Shrestha - Treasurer
  • Sapana Sharma - Member
  • Anjana Pradhan Amatya - Member
  • Mr Paswan - Member
  • Prem Songmen - Member
  • Dhruba Kasaju- Member


The first and most important work that CWIN did was to translate the draft UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Nepali in 1987. In 1988, it organised the first South Asian Seminar-Workshop on Working Children. This provided an opportunity to discuss issues like child servitude and other urgent, child-related issues at the regional level, and to expand the reach of CWIN. In 1991 CWIN published its research paper Urban Child Labour, which included a wide coverage of the status of children throughout Nepal. In 1993, CWIN organised a major study programme of children at risk, such as street children, those working in different sectors, especially the carpet industry, young victims of trafficking[7] and prostitution, children in debt bondage, etc. In 1994, it made another contribution by opening the CWIN Children's Home, a transit centre for children at risk: CWIN Balika.

In 1996, CWIN rescued 130 Nepali girls from the red light districts in Bombay and repatriated them, publishing Back Home Brothels, the real story of trafficked girls. In 1997, CWIN’s 10th anniversary was celebrated by organizing several programmes for children. In the same year CWIN published a year-book report on the State of the Rights of the Child in Nepal. In 2000, on International Day of the Rights of the Child, and for the first time in the history of Nepal, CWIN established an emergency relief and counseling service for children at risk: CWIN Help-Line.

As well as all these milestones, CWIN also organised many programmes. An example is The Local Action against Alcohol and Drugs, a knowledge-based awareness and advocacy programme to reduce the abuse of substances in society, especially among children in Nepal. CWIN has also been investing in "Action Research" since the beginning of the children's rights movement in Nepal. CWIN runs a national Resource and Information Centre with wide coverage on children's rights, child labour, trafficking, etc.

Other works

CWIN has been assisting in various parts of nation building through its four main aspects, namely:

  • The approach of "Advocacy through Action" which has been helpful in building awareness on children's rights and child labour in Nepal. CWIN, with voluntary support from different organizations, has been undertaking several community-based projects for children, such as the construction and renovation of schools, school libraries, etc.
  • The approach of "For Children, With Children" has been helpful in building awareness about children's rights through child participation of the street children of Nepal (Khate) and other child survivors. CWIN Street Theatre and CWIN Sports Club are examples of such awareness-building programmes.
  • CWIN has been providing support for children at risk, such as the CWIN Contact Centre in the Central Bus Terminal, Hamro Ghar: Drop-in Centre for Street Children and Children at Risk, CWIN Balika: Programme for Girls at Risk, CWIN Bal Kendra: Centre for Migrant Children at Risk, CWIN Centre for Self-Reliance, and CWIN Socialisation Centre in Pokhara.
  • The approach for "Children In Conflict", which promotes Children's Participation, Emergency Support Education, Advocacy and campaigns on Children in Armed Conflict, etc, according to Bibek Chaulagain and any one call in this no 1098 for any kinds of child problems.

Main Article Bibek Chaulagain Himalayan White House Intl Collage New baneshwor.

CWIN during 10 years of armed conflict

During the civil war from 1996 to 2006, 328 children (232 boys and 93 girls) were killed, and 250 children (167 boys and 83 girls) were seriously injured. Civil society raised a strong voice against violence, but the series of child killings and violence against children didn’t stop. CWIN, during this period, tried to make everyone aware, using the slogan "Children are Zones of Peace". CWIN ran training sessions and published advocacy material. CWIN also provided training for peace workers in different parts of the country, to promote the "Children are Zones of Peace" campaign.


CWIN has been receiving continuous support and solidarity from organisations like Quinoa and Salaai in Belgium, United World College-South East Asia in Singapore, Defence for Children International-Finland, Children in Crisis, U.K., Profit for World's Children-Holland, and KEPA-Finland. 'Save the Children Norway-Nepal', 'FORUT-Norway', and 'PLAN Nepal' are the main working partners of CWIN in undertaking its activities. CWIN has been working together with HMG/Nepal on the promotion and protection of children's rights. In addition, CWIN has been working with bilateral and multilateral agencies, UN agencies such as UNICEF and ILO, in the area of children's rights.


  1. ^
  2. ^ CWIN evaluation report final January 2009 sendt NORAD.pdf (800 kb) page 31, downloaded from 2010-04-04
  3. ^ accessed 2010-04-06
  4. ^ Page 404, The World Guide 2005/2006, New Internationalist Publications, Oxford, UK.
  5. ^ Page 404, The World Guide 2005/2006, New Internationalist Publications, Oxford, UK.
  6. ^ CWIN evaluation report final January 2009 sendt NORAD.pdf (800 kb), downloaded from 2010-04-04
  7. ^ Anti-Slavery - Resources - Educational

External links Bibek Chaulagain

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