Urmila Chaudhary

Abolitionist and former child domestic slave under the kamalari system of Nepal

Asia-Pacific and South Asia

Urmila Chaudhary is a Nepalese women’s rights activist and a former domestic slave under the Kamlari system, a form of debt bondage. At the age of six, she was forced to leave her family and was sold into domestic servitude. For 11 year she was exploited, abused, and forced to work without any compensation in thehouse of a wealthy, well-known family in Kathmandu. Chaudhary was rescued by the Nepal Youth Foundation at 17 and began her fight for the many girls still enslaved under the Kamlari system. After she was freed in 2007, she was finally able to begin school. She was elected the first president of the Common Forum for Kamlari Freedom (CFKF),an organization founded by women and girls to fight for their rights. Chaudhary and a delegation of girls traveled several times to see the president, the prime minister and other important government leaders in Nepal to seek financial support for the education of former slaves. Chaudhary also organizes performances in villages to raise awareness among girls and their parents. She is a role model for many freed girls, ranging from the ages of eight to twenty,who were unable to return to their families after being rescued from servitude. In 2013, Urmila was severely injured by police while protesting for Kamlari rights. She is the subject of a 2016 award-winning German documentary “Urmila – My Memory is my Power” which follows her fight for Kamlaris rights and freedom. In 2017, she won the Theodor-Haecker Prize for political courage and sincerity.Chardhary is attending high school in Lamahi/Dang And plans on studying law.

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