LSF graduate Sharda battled to complete her education despite polio, stigma, and friends kidnapped in front of her during civil war. Today, she works for the international NGO Save the Children and has a family and daughter of her own. This is her story, in her own words:
I was born in a poor family and the youngest child of my parents and youngest siblings of 8 others. My mother was also really treated badly and everybody hated her for giving birth to child who was both handicapped child and also a daughter. She really had a tough time because of me.
Growing up in a poor family as a handicapped child and a girl, I almost had no hopes and dream in my childhood. My destiny was to live hidden away in my parent’s house as a burden and shame to the family members.
It is often said that childhood is a golden time of life and it should be memorable, but for me it was full of struggle, hatred and discrimination. It was the worst period of my life. I had no dolls or crayons to draw, but used to play with mud, hiding myself with the domestic animals, who were my best friends in my childhood.
My polio had not been properly treated, as my parents were unaware. Because of poverty, they didn’t even think to take me to the hospital. After they learned more, I was taken to the hospital and was able to go to school only after getting treatment and crutches and orthosis. I was really happy and was able to do my best, but had to bear a lot of hardship due to being different.
I started studying with informal education, going to a women’s literacy class and then after I went to school in my village. I slowly started to live a life and dream about the future but suddenly my hopes vanished when the school in my village closed down and I was uncertain again. Once more, I had to suffer a lot due to the Civil War. Not only I, but many women and girls were the victim of the conflict at that time. I am among them. I still remember that some of my friends were kidnapped from the school in front of my eyes.
But I was really lucky among thousands of children of my country that time who at that time were forced to fight. I moved to Kathmandu with the help of some beautiful and kind people in my life.
Mrs. Gopini was helping me and trying to help me with my education in Kathmandu. She knew Usha Didi and, as it was so difficult to figure out what to do, she called to for help. Usha didi took me to Nobel Academy and I was admitted on the same day with the support of Little Sisters Fund.
Coming from a rural area, and being a poor female handicapped child affected by the war, people always looked at me differently. It was a immense challenge for me to adjust to such a sophisticated environment, but I had a strong desire for the education and I was sure that I met very good people in my life so I really tried my best. I had to study the whole Oxford dictionary, but I learned English in six months.
I was financially supported by the Little Sisters Fund and also helped greatly by Usha Didi and Mr. Jayaraj Acharya who always inspired me and encouraged me so much in so many ways. I slowly started feel that I had a great and loving family even in this big city. That family was the Little Sisters Fund, where I could go and share all my pain and pleasures, and meet others girls, and talk with Usha Didi. She was always there, always asking me about how I felt, always giving so much of unconditional love and care. I felt like it was my second home.
I can’t imagine my life without education and without the LSF. It saved my life and showed the path where I should walk and where I should reach. Most important thing was that I was loved unconditionally. The whole Little Sisters Fund family is a home of people who are so kind and loving.
Today I realize that when I had lost hope in myself, when I had no one to hold my hand, when nobody believed in me, the LSF had faith on me and gifted me the gift of education. In my opinion life is no longer a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced!
Life has changed a lot between then and now. I don’t say that I am the most successful person but I am happy enough to cherish the life I have now. I am not proud on what I have achieved till date but I am strong enough to call the past the past and still ready to accept whatever challenges arise. I have a beautiful charming a little friend none other than my five-year old daughter. I have a caring and understanding man of the world as a husband, and as a whole we all are happy.
I work and I am self-dependent. I have a smile in my face. I can prove and show to those who were opposing to send me to school that education is the only thing that makes life better. I often say that “Change is only the true result of an education “I have my own identity as “Sharda” and it would not have been possible without an education and the Little Sisters Fund. This is what and education can do.
I don’t yet think that I am done with education. I am still striving for education. In a few years I want to do a Ph.D. and contribute in the field of education the way I can. I have a dream to extend my hands towards the education of girls and children. Let’s see‼