The parents of the students live on the hills of the Western
Ghats, a few miles from the school. Most have no job and they make their living
out of subsistence farming. Those that do have a job sometimes work as day
laborers by working with bricks. Their annual income is 6,000 rupees, or $135.
These people catch fish and plant vegetables on government land. Their parents
only own 1 pair of clothes. Either they never wash it or they wash it at night
and let it dry till morning. Their house consists of a few sticks with a thatch
on top. The more fortunate ones have rooms made of mud and stones.
parents cannot read or write, so they sign with their thumb. In the past
parents have been tricked by unscrupulous landowners into signing documents
which they could not read. Some of these people have signed contracts in which
they borrowed money and had to repay the loan at a high interest rate. However,
because the people are to poor, the loan never gets paid off and they are
forced to work for the landowners. But, throughout their lifetime the loan
still never gets paid. They die and their children are forced to work. This
cycle continues and every child becomes a bonded-laborer. This is slavery
happening right now in the 21st century. The government
laws banning bonded-labor but the people are so uneducated that they don’t know
about the law. And if the people challenge the landlords asking for their
freedom, then they will get beaten to the point of death. There are no cops in
the region and law enforcement in India is terrible.