The first mobile ‘school’ for child domestic workers in Bangladesh.
Domestic workers represent the most under-represented and deprived communities in Bangladesh. Although the average working age begins from 16 years, domestic workers have been found to be as young as 5 years of age. Often, because of lack of record, support and legal protection – child domestic workers are victims of violent abuse and deprived of their necessary rights. They cannot attend school, eat three straight meals a day and for some, are no longer allowed to contact their parents.
Haate Khori is a much-needed intervention to tackle the crisis of child domestic workers. At the end of a 15 months long research, the Haate Khori model was developed to provide basic education to child domestic workers and build a strong support system between employers, child domestic workers and youth volunteers.
Haate Khori is conducted by setting up makeshift classrooms at the employers’ houses (mostly in apartment complexes comprising of 1o to 15 flats with each apartment complex accommodating up to 25 child domestic workers). The program is 3-months long covering basic literacy, simple arithmetic, art-dance-and-drama, history, values and general knowledge. In the course of providing education, the program records all background data of the child and advocates to the employer to send the child to school and provide them with basic childhood necessities. Essentially, it builds a vital big brother/sister relationship between the child domestic worker and the 1° volunteer.
Till December 2011, 4 Haate Khori programs with nearly 40 students have been carried out in Mirpur, Dhanmondi and Uttara. The challenge lies with convincing employers to allow such programs to begin at their apartments, and once convinced, the child domestic workers often face difficulties in attending regular classes.
By December 2013, the One Degree Initiative Foundation hopes to initiate and complete 10 Haate Khori programs comprising of at least 120 graduates.
23% of Haate Khori graduates are now enrolled in mainstream schools while many employers now assist 1° volunteers to conduct classes.