Children of Rishidev community of Duhabi-3 searching for reusable waste from the rubbish. Amar Khadka/Republica
ITAHARI, April 15: There is a dumping site in the western side of a local river in Duhabi ward no.3. As the river lies in the Sunsari-Morang border area, the garbage released from various factories of both the districts is dumped here. One can often see children scavenging on the huge pile of trash. These little children pick the reusable garbage and waste materials and sell them for a little income which is used for their education.
This place is occupied with these children almost all time of the year regardless of the weather. Children have been making money by selling plastic, broken glass, scrap metal and other trash. It might be hard for some to believe but some of these children are the sole breadwinners of their families while many are paying their education bills on their own. "I bear my educational expenses with this money," said Devaki Rishidev, 11 of Duhabi ward no.3.
According to Devaki, her parents don't need to buy her books, copies, pen, uniform and other educational materials. "Sometimes, I even lend money to my parents for household expenses," said Devaki, adding," My family is economically poor so I don't have any option other than working."
Devaki who is a 2nd grader at the local Bhola Basic School said, "We are busy during holidays."
Similarly, Rubi Rishidev of the same village says she has to spend two to three hours picking rubbish for a hundred rupees. She is basically involved in collecting metals which takes a lot of time. "We often fall ill due to the infections we get from the garbage," said Niruta Rishidev. She further said that picking rubbish is more of a trouble especially in the summer. "In the summer, we go to the river to wash ourselves after collecting garbage for hours," said Niruta.
There are around 60 households in the Rishidev community of Duhabi ward no.3. Most of them are making their families' ends meet by doing labor. Due to their poor financial condition, parents send their children for work at an early age.
Gyanu Rishidev of the same community recently turned 15. It's been long since he has been doing labor to make his and his mother's ends meet. His father is no more and three of his brothers are living separately. His mother too is a laborer but her earning is not enough for them. "It's hard to manage everything with the little money earned by my mother," said Gyanu, adding," He earns Rs 2000 to 2500 per week."
Many children of this community are still away from school. "Parents don't give much attention to the education of their children who don't know the importance of education," said Tilakram Rishidev, a local parent. He further said that Shyam Rishidev is the most educated person of his community. Shyam is currently studying in grade 11 at Saraswoti Secondary School of Duhabi.