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We lost our parents on Boxing Day in 2004 whilst volunteering in Sri Lanka, which is why we try to mark each festive period by opening a Kids Campus in their memory. After the devastating earthquake of 2015, many children in Nepal were left vulnerable to exploitation; and we knew we had to do something to help - which is why we have now opened our third Kids Campus there. We decided to take two young brothers, Alex and Josh and their parents from our home town of Farnborough, the place we returned to after the tsunami.
We wanted to show them the values our parents demonstrated to us as kids; to see how other children have to live and also the work we are now doing as a brand to try and make their lives better. Visiting Nepal was a trip of a lifetime, and they got to see the opening of our newest Kids Campus. While we were there, we opened their eyes to the inequality that Gandys are trying to help tackle.
“The Asia and Pacific region harbours the largest number of child workers in the 5 to 14 age group, 127.3 million in total (19% of children are working in the region”. - Source - Unicef
In Europe, it can be hard to imagine the hardships faced each day by in the developing world. In Nepal, over 1.6 million children between the ages of five to seventeen are child labourers. Approximately 40% of these children are thought to be engaged in work that is hazardous to their emotional and physical wellbeing.
In the UK, being a mechanic is a good job, and you have workplace legislation to protect you and your rights, and the right tools and training to do your job. In Nepal, - we wouldn’t look out of place putting your car through its MOT. In some areas of Nepal, it is not unusual for children to be carrying out work on your car, using power tools and industrial equipment without training or protective clothing. A garage is not a safe environment for a child to be in, let alone work in, yet for some children in Nepal this is necessary so they can afford to eat each day.
One of the biggest industries employing children in Nepal is agriculture. Nearly two thirds of Nepal's working population are employed in this sector, and unfortunately, this also includes many children. Normally these boys would be out playing football with their friends; but here they witnessed first hand the back breaking rice-cutting season, and met many children their own age who were employed in this back breaking task.
Unfortunately, many children in Nepal are working as they have no choice in the matter, their families do not have the money to be able to put food on the table or put them through education - and that’s why we have opened our new campus. As you can see, the kids there are able to eat, learn and most importantly enjoy being a kid! We also teach them the skills to learn a trade for when they are adults; because work should be left to the grown ups.
We apologise if you take offense to the thought of us cancelling Christmas but whilst everyone is distracted by the festive period we just wanted to share the importance of doing something that helps those less fortunate than us. Whether it’s having a cup of tea with someone in need, volunteering at your local soup kitchen or buying a present with purpose, no matter how small, your contribution can make a difference to someone’s life.