A Day in the Life of a Working Child in Kathmandu, Nepal: A Synthesis of 20 Stories about Children’s Days

This synthesis paper summarises patterns in the lived experience of 20 children in Kathmandu who went about a typical day in their lives.

Combining use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, a survey children completed via a mobile phone app, and ethnographic observations, children and adult researchers recorded locations, times of day, activities, and feelings. This paper brings into view the challenges that children in worst forms of child labour navigate before, after, and between work. The findings illustrate how children struggle to combine work and school. It surfaces the fears that the children have getting to and from work. The paper shows how they navigate both stigma and harassment. The children work long hours into the night in unsafe locations, for low wages, which makes it difficult to survive. They work through sickness, and their work makes them sick. They have to work with men who are drunk and, in some venues, are required to drink alcohol themselves. On commission-based earning structures, the children’s survival depends on it. Aside from the immediate and long-term effects of alcohol consumption, children struggle to navigate the dangers at work and in their neighbourhoods under its influence. Some of the actions that government actors, non-governmental organisations, businesses, and the children themselves could take to improve safety and wellbeing in workplaces and on journeys to and from work are discussed.


Aked, J.; Burns, D.; Bhattarai, K.; Rayamajhi, D. and Timilsina, A. (2024) A Day in the Life of a Working Child in Kathmandu, Nepal: A Synthesis of 20 Stories about Children’s Days, CLARISSA Research and Evidence Paper 17, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/CLARISSA.2024.011

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June 13, 2024
June 2024
Institute of Development Studies
Jody Aked, Danny Burns, Kriti Bhattarai, Rayamajhi, D. & Amit Timilsina