Children's Stories: Akkas
The Story of a Carpet Boy
Akkas lived with his parents and five siblings in the Ratan District of Nepal. His father earned a meager salary as a rickshaw driver but spent most of it on liquor. Akkas could not afford the school admission fee and was forced to drop out of his studies and, in his words, "drop his dream."
One day his parents borrowed the equivalent of $7 from a thekedar (debt broker) in exchange for Akkas and his older sister. Akkas was taken to a carpet factory, where he was forced to weave rugs from 3 a.m. to 8 p.m. with one break to eat. He later told a GoodWeave volunteer that "the worst part was hunger." After four months in the factory at the age of 12, Akkas was identified by a GoodWeave inspector when the company using that manufacturing site joined the U.S. certification program.
As a staff person of the program in India notes: “A child laborer loses his eye, his bones, his lungs … but more than that, his personality and dreams. Those are often irreplaceable.” Akkas’s hands still bear scars from his hard labor, but his spirit remains whole and vital.
Today, Akkas is renewing his dream of getting an education at one of Nepal’s most prestigious academic institutions. He is a healthy and athletic 16 year-old, who recently won numerous gold medals in track and field, including the long jump.