Children are often victims of poverty in Nepal. However much their parents love them, in poor families they are counted as an economic resource from an early age. Child labour has always been essential in agriculture, and in the past it was common for children to work as unpaid servants for village landowners simply so there would be one less mouth to feed. In the growing cash economy, children are increasingly being relied on to earn wages as porters and labourers in the carpet, brick and construction industries. According to one study, 2,6 million Nepali children – 60 % of the population between 6 and 14 – are engaged in labour.
The government has passed laws against child labour, but this is yet another problem that can only be effectively addressed by attacking its root cause : poverty.