Stories from the field: Pampha Devi Timalsina
At our event, “A Night for Nepal” you were given a glimpse of several stories of the lives of villagers in Archale, Nepal where Shining Three Star Academy is. Saprinu volunteers, Biswas and Basanta interviewed these people, translated them into English, and produced these stories. Over the next few weeks, months, and hopefully years we intend to follow students and their families continuing to tell their story. These stories may be heartbreaking, but reality often is. Through the work of Saprinu and its supporters we hope to see a shift from hopelessness, to one of hope and prosperity. It is not just about education, it is about creating a sustainable community by which education is only the beginning.
This is the next story of villagers in Archale, Nepal and it belongs to Pampha Devi Timalsina, age 57…
There are fourteen people in my family – my husband, our two sons, a daughter, two daughters-in-law, and seven grandchildren. Three of my grand-children – Sabita Timalsina (aged 9 years, grade 2), Rasmita Timalsina (aged 8 years, grade 2) and Regina Timalsina (aged 4 years, grade LKG) – study at Shining Three Star Academy (Saprinu’s school). It is very hard for the little kids to walk to school every day. They have to climb down the hill, cross two rivers, and walk uphill again. It takes almost an hour to reach the school. Out of the two rivers on the way, one does not have a bridge over it, and the makeshift bridge that villagers build is often washed away by the flood during the monsoon. Even their downhill walk is prone to frequent landslides. I am always afraid whenever I send them to school in the morning. From my village there are about 20 small children who go to the school regularly. From last year, the school has appointed one teacher from this village who is also responsible to fetch the kids safe and sound. Couple of months ago, Sabita fell where a landslide had ruined the path to her school. Luckily, she was saved by the teacher, and escaped with just a fractured arm. It is very hard for me to imagine what would have happened to her and other children if the teacher hadn’t been with them. Since we do not have any options of better school nearby, and since Shining Three Star Academy does not provide boarding facilities, I do not have any choice but to send my grand-children in spite of great danger they have to face daily.
Last year, a landslide washed away a part of my farmland. My family’s income and livelihood is solely based on farming. We have been struggling to manage our daily needs. There is no option but for my sons to migrate abroad in search of jobs. It has been fourteen months since my younger son Ramesh, 30, migrated to Dubai to work as a security guard. His salary is meager, and part of it is used to pay back the loan that he took to pay the agency that facilitated his employment in Dubai. We manage family expenses from whatever money he sends us. He has studied only up to grade 11 and does not have any employment opportunities here in the village or the country. Earlier, he had even been to India for two and half years in search of employment. He has also worked in Saudi Arabia for three years. My elder son Raju, 34, is unemployed these days. He was also trying to go abroad for jobs, but was duped by a local agent. The agent promised him farm work in Canada and took half million Nepalese Rupees (about US$ 5,800). The agent ran off with the money. With the help of friends we managed to take back half of the amount, but he is yet to return the rest. We have lost the money and it’s very hard to pay back the debt, and the high interest rates which is about 24 percent.
My sons could not get good education and continue their higher studies due to the financial difficulty of the family. We hope that our young grand-children will have a good future, a better fate than that of their parents.
Shining Three Star Academy has been a positive influence on my grand-children. After joining this school, they have become cleverer, more amicable and these days they are more interested in their studies. Even when she was injured and in the hospital, Sabita was worried about her studies. As soon as she was back from hospital, she ran to school and did not like missing her classes. I want to thank the school family for its efforts towards better education in our village. We will always help the school in whatever way we can.