Akkas lived with his parents and five siblings in the Ratan District of Nepal. His father's salary as a rickshaw driver was meager and money he did earn was spent on alcohol. Not able to afford the school admission fee, Akkas was forced to stop his studies and in his words ‘drop his dream.’
One day his parents borrowed the equivalent of $7 from a thekedar (broker) in exchange for Akkas and his elder sister. Akkas was taken to a carpet factory, where he was made to weave rugs from 3a.m. to 8 p.m. with one break to eat. He later told a RugMark volunteer that “the worst part was hunger."
Akkas was identified by a RugMark inspector four months later, once the company using that manufacturing site joined the U.S. certification program.
As a RugMark staff person in India powerfully notes: “A child laborer loses his eye, his bones, his lungs… but more than that, his personality and dreams. Those are often irreplaceable.”
While Akkas’s body still bears the evidence of his hard labor, including deep cuts in his hands from the yarn, his spirit does not. Akkas is a strikingly happy child, always smiling and laughing. Today, he is at the RugMark rehabilitation center, renewing his dream of getting an education.
More Children's Stories