“My sister fell ill and her medical bills cost 30,000 rupees. My father wasn’t getting his salary on time, so we had no options. I took a loan from the brick kiln and agreed to work for them until it was paid off. Other members of my family did the same. We thought it would only take three months. But when I went to leave, they told me I owed them 90,000 rupees. I couldn’t believe it. They told me I couldn’t leave. It’s like quicksand. They only pay you 200 rupees per 1000 bricks, and it all goes to them, and the debt keeps growing. We are supposed to work from dawn to dusk for six days a week, but we never get the 7th day off. They tell me I owe them 900,000 rupees now. There is no hope for me. Every year they have a market. The brick kiln owners get together and they sell us to each other. Just ten days ago my entire family was sold for 2.2 million rupees.”
*1,000 rupees = $10 (5 of 7) (Lahore, Pakistan)
This is the fifth post in a series on Syeda Ghulam Fatima. Known to her admirers as Pakistan’s Harriet Tubman, Fatima has worked tirelessly to eradicate bonded labor—one of the last remaining forms of modern slavery. This man is one of millions of bonded laborers in Pakistan, and one of the tens of thousands who has turned directly to Fatima to help him escape the violence and cruelty of his owners. Fatima has been electrocuted, shot, and repeatedly beaten for her activism. Despite her outsized impact, she operates on a very small budget. So we are raising money to help her in her mission.
Today is the last day of the fundraiser we are holding for Fatima’s organization, The Bonded Labour Liberation Front. We have raised nearly $400,000 so far. Costs are low in Pakistan, so this sort of money can be leveraged many times over. We are not just increasing Fatima’s abilities to help free people from bondage. We are MULTIPLYING those abilities. Over 12,000 people have contributed so far. 15,000 people would be 1% participation. One percent may not sound like much, but for a community of 15,000,000 people, I think that is an amazing amount of engagement.* I encourage everyone to read the previous posts so far, and consider being counted in our effort to aid Fatima’s fight against modern slavery: http://bit.ly/1N9W3Ts
*Edit: 15,000 is .1% participation. Luckily I’m taking photos and not teaching math.
I thought that maybe if you fought the bugs that sprang from these memories, you might to learn to face the hurt in the memories themselves. …I’m sorry. I wish I could have told you this in person, but the real me is gone. She doesn’t exist now.
There is sweet music that softer falls. Than petals from blown roses on the grass. Or night-dews on still waters between walls. Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass. Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.