Migration, Refugee and Anti Trafficking



During the early 1990s, years of rising tensions in Bhutan erupted into violence between the government and “Lhotshampas” (Bhutanese residents of Nepali ethnicity). Fear and persecution caused many Lhotshampas to flee their homes for refugee camps in Nepal. By 1996, some 84,000 refugees were living in limbo across seven camps.
It took until 2007 for an international agreement to be reached on resettling the refugees, and individual families have had to wait many more years for arrangements to be made to resettle them to new homes in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US and Europe. Meanwhile, the children in camps were deprived of education. Thus, Caritas through Bhutanese Refugee Education Program provided educationto the Bhutanese children.
Caritas has been working with the refugees since 1991 providing education and supporting  children in the camps. Currently, the Refugees population in the camp is 9,522 and the total number of resettled refugees is 109,841.
Supporting women empowerment and combating trafficking in persons are the prioritized areas. Caritas has also been promoting safe migration through skill development and awareness activities.

The Bhutanese Refugee Education Program (BREP) was one of the first projects ever undertaken by Caritas Nepal, in our infancy as an organisation. Caritas has been working with the refugees since 1991 to provide education and support to children in the camps and has  been running formal education from Nursery to grade X to the Bhutanese refugee Children. At present, there are five units of school in the camp. Along with the formal education, different activities related to formal and informal education are being carried out throughout the program period.
The resettlement of the Bhutanese Refugees to third countries commenced in January 2008. Two camps are left: Beldangi in Jhapa District and Sanischare in Morang District, with 2313 remaining students as of March 2017: 1114 boys and 1199 girls, the majority between preschool and Year VIII.
As the resettlement proceeds smoothly and steadily, we face new challenges, notably a lack of skilled and qualified volunteers to serve in the community. Our focus is now on consolidating schools, keeping up high standards of education despite the resettlement of many volunteer teachers, and maintaining the morale of the remaining students in a climate of uncertainty about when and where they'll be resettled.
It's all worthwhile when we hear the success stories of refugee children educated in the camps who've gone on to fulfilling jobs or further education in their new countries.
The activities carried during the year 2016-17 have been described as follows:
•    3,350 students enrolled in the beginning of the academic year 2016/17
•    103 students are able to continue further studies in public or private schools after passing from camp school
•    6 counsellors supported students, teachers and parents in order to make teaching learning process more effective and efficient
•    At least 1,293 teachers, camp management committee members trained in educational training workshop
•    417 adults enhanced English language skill to be able to integrate in the country of resettlement
•    283 children below five received child development services through Child Play Centre (CPC)
•    NPR 14,00,000 is provided to Community Technology Access (CTA) Centre/ user groups
•    7 schools are provided infrastructure, repair and maintenance supports

It is now a well-known fact that foreign employment is indeed the most significant factor for international migration in Nepal. It is reported that at least five million Nepali people are working abroad and the labor migrants end up in “difficult, risky and dangerous” jobs, situation. Every day at least four Nepali migrant workers die abroad.
Many of them are unskilled, and are often underprepared and lack correct documentation and knowledge of safe migration practices.
Caritas has started a pilot project in Lele -Lalitpur to make sure that young jobseekers are aware of safe migration practices, develop skills and properly understand their options at homeland and abroad, so that if they choose to migrate abroad for work then they are at least safe and get to work and live a dignified life.
Human trafficking. UNICEF estimates that some 7000 Nepali women and girls are trafficked every year to India. Many of these women are forced into prostitution, while others are made to work long hours in appalling conditions in the textile industry or as domestic servants.
Unsafe migration. Around 350,000 Nepali go abroad for work every year, attracted by job opportunities and higher wages. However, many labour migrants don't realise how vulnerable they are to be abused until it's too late. In a survey of Nepali migrant workers, 40% reported that they were made to work excessive hours, and 30% had suffered abuse. Foreign employers often confiscate migrant workers' passports, so that they are unable to leave the country. Women are particularly at risk, as it's estimated that 95% of female migrants don't have documentation.
Gender-based violence. Domestic violence is a common evil in Nepali society, which is still heavily patriarchal. A government study found that 48% of women had experienced gender-based violence at some time in their lives, at the hands of their husbands or their husbands' families.
Nepali women are often dependent on their husbands for decision making and women have great respect for their husbands – sometimes, unfortunately, at a cost.
Caritas Nepal is currently working in eleven districts of Nepal: Syangja, Kaski, Parsa, Morang, Jhapa, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Sindhupalchowk, Banke and Sunsary. All of these districts see high rates of emigration and are known to be sources of trafficking in girls and women.
Caritas is working to protect local men, women, youths and children in these districts by:
Building relationships between Nepali and Indian border officials, to encourage them to cooperate in preventing trafficking.
Funding "watch-dogs", local people trained to spot suspicious activity at the border and offer support to potential victims.
Educating government officials, community leaders, cooperative leaders, teachers and other local influencers about risks and responses to trafficking, gender-based violence and unsafe migration, so that they can spread awareness in their communities.
So far, Caritas has involved nearly 4500 local people in training and activities to build their awareness of trafficking, unsafe migration and gender-based violence and how to prevent them.
The activities carried during the year 2016-17 have been described as follows:
•    8 youth and 5 child clubs formed involving 339 potential jobseekers 
•    21 youth provided with ToT on safe-migration
•    Hoarding boards on safe migration have been installed 11 locations of five districts
•    75 school students provided with career counselling 
•    59 youth provided with various skill development training
•    77 youth participated on international youth day

Following a bitter civil war in Nepal (1996-2006), there's been a decade-long surge in labour migration to other countries. More than half a million Nepali leave the country every year to find jobs in the Middle East and elsewhere. Many of these migrants are unskilled, and they are often underprepared and lack the correct documentation and knowledge of safe migration practices. Young people in particular are easy prey for bogus recruitment agents in Nepal and exploitative employers abroad. 
Under this project, Caritas is actively involved in various activities for the protection and empowerment women, children and potential out going migrant workers through various awareness activities for long time. Such program was initiated in the year 1998 which is still in practice today.  
Caritas Nepal has been enthusiastically working to build a just society where there is gender equality and respect for men and women irrespective of differences in social, economic, cultural and religious backgrounds either in home country or in foreign land.
Nepali migrants frequently work very long hours, for low pay in unsafe conditions, and find that the real terms and duties of their jobs are very different from what they were promised in their contracts. Employers often confiscate their passports so that they can't leave the country until the end of their contract – which may be years long.
The Caritas has just started a new project in Lele, Lalitpur District, which has a particularly high rate of emigration (approximately 50% of school leavers in the area seek unskilled work abroad).
Caritas' aim is to make sure that jobseekers in Lele are aware of safe migration practices, develop skills and properly understand their options, at home and abroad, so that if they choose to migrate for work they can do so in a safe and dignified way.
The activities carried during the year 2016-17 have been described as follows:
•    970 participated in international women’s day and anti-human trafficking program
 
•    270 students oriented on human trafficking

•    15 hoarding boards related to anti trafficking installed in Syangja district

•    919 cooperatives members oriented on procedures of foreign employment and migration