On my recent visit to the brick kilns in Pakistan I saw Shahid and his brother Ilya helping their enslaved parents to make bricks. Surely it’s not right for children as young as 4 and 6 to be forced to make bricks?
There are literally thousands of Christian families enslaved in the brick kilns. The task is so enormous the temptation is to give up, but what can we do?
With your support we have set 16 families free and made sure they have work and somewhere to live. For 16 families you have transformed their lives. One released family said, “The greatest change for us is freedom. My children go to school and I am no longer a beggar but can earn an honest wage.” Another said, “We are so happy to be free, my children go to school and we now have food to eat. No longer can we be sold from one owner to another.” The cost of setting a family free and making sure they have employment and somewhere to live is probably averaging about £1000 or $1500.
Your support has helped us to fund 11 brick kiln Sunday schools. Shahzad says that these Sunday schools have changed the atmosphere in the brick kilns. Not only do the children learn but they go home and tell their parents what they have learnt. The Sunday schools offer stimulation and hope in the midst of poverty and drudgery. It only costs about £50 or $75 a month to fund a Sunday school including materials, monitoring, training and a little support for the teachers.
Education is one of the few ways out of poverty. Your support allows us to fully fund one school and help with 4 others. A teacher’s salary is only about £30 or $45 a month. To set up a very basic brick kiln school costs about £165 or $250. Then the everyday costs for the teachers’ salaries, materials etc are about £130 or $200 a month. This does not include uniforms. Investing in these children gives them the possibility of breaking free from the grip of grinding poverty and slavery. Would you consider forming a group with two or three others and funding a brick kiln school?
On my last trip I met many in the brick kilns who had medical needs. Although we have not done this so far perhaps we could fund a doctor to visit all the schools or Sunday schools once a year and access the medical needs of the children.
Finally we support brick kiln sewing centres to teach the girls a skill that will give them the opportunity to earn some money for their families in the future.