One of the most heartbreaking programmes the Epiphany Trust has been involved in concerns the children of the Lahore brickyards. Children as young as four make bricks, alongside their parents and grandparents, to pay off family debts which in many cases go back generations. The debts are incurred for occasions such as family weddings, but for the poor, repayment is a painful, very long-term business.
The whole family camps around the kilns in makeshift shelters and miserable, unhygienic conditions, working outdoors in temperatures as high as 40 degrees C. Often, it is as much as they can do to keep up with the interest payments.
The children of the brickyard families are unable to attend school because of their enforced labour, and their resulting lacks of education further embeds them in poverty. In 2002, through our partners in Lahore, the Epiphany Trust began to provide schooling on one day a week for fifty children.
The lawyers of CLAAS have worked hard to challenge this unethical practice and bring about change and have succeeded in obtaining freedom for some children, who have been released from labour and are now able to go to school. In 2005 in an historic high court ruling over 300 children where released from bondage in brickyards. Read the full report below.
We are continuing to support CLAAS in their valuable work and also to provide a basic education for those children still enslaved.