Project Exodus hopes to raise awareness of the plight of the brick kiln workers; and the funds needed to help release them, one family at a time.
This project was started in conjunction with Mary and Pastor Zahid Kenny, VfA partners, who have been working in these brick kilns to set up churches and schools.
Our Vision is to provide the resources needed to see these families set free from years of slavery providing hope for the future.
Our Mission is to provide the means to buy families out of the brick kilns; to rehome them and to set up at least one member of the family in a business as soon as they are released.
Over four million brick kiln workers in Pakistan are bonded labourers, tied by debt to their employers. Overburdened by loans, generation after generation of workers, totalling approximately 4.5 million spread across 18,000 kilns around the country, toil for nothing more than the promise of freedom. Of these, 5,000 brick kilns are in Punjab alone, mostly (about 90% of them) in rural areas. 95% of these slaves are traditional Christians.
Entire families, including very young children, work in brick kilns striving to pay off debts that are so much beyond their means that they will remain unpaid after decades of continuous work. Many do not even know how they came to be there.
The brick kiln workers live in substandard conditions with no running water, sanitation, education facilities, or health care. The workers are often traded or sold between owners. Incidents of abuse are frequent. Some families have been enslaved for generations.
Once money is raised a family will be bought out of the brick kiln and the owner will sign papers to show their debt has been settled. Each family will then be given a new home in rented accommodation and supported, on the ground, by one of Kenny’s pastors. Work will be found for at least one member of the family; a possible option is buying a donkey cart, if they can look after the donkey, as there is always plenty of work if you own one. This way they can start earning money straight away, possibly getting ten times more than they did making bricks.
By joining us you could:
- make a difference to the lives of families caught up in slavery
- help transform lives forever
- £1,200 [approx. for a large family] to pay off their debt
- £500 to rehabilitate the family
- £500 to buy a donkey cart, or start a small business
Vision for Asia has worked with Kenny to raise funds to set the first family free. Here is the response of Mushtaq released in August 2016:
He and his family of nine are now settling into their new life supported by Pastor Asif. Mushtaq now earns $10 a day instead of $1.