I was neither an educator nor a social worker. But I chose Teach For Nepal to commit two years of my life. Of course, there is one big reason behind it that calls my individual social responsibility. However, I cannot deny that there were my own secret agendas working behind the scene as well.
I have learned the value of life and authenticity from my family. The way my parents rose from the ground to the heights of their own has always inspired me. They have worked extremely hard to give their children what they needed and even more. Although they didn’t have access to quality education, they understood its importance. That is why, even during the times of economic downturn, they didn’t settle for less. All of their children went to boarding schools and had a good childhood. They paid all the bills and never complained. They went through the ups and the downs- yet never sighed. They believed in their sweat, in their hard work and in their dreams that they have woven for us. I have seen them struggle and work hard to reach where they are right now. Yet they haven’t forgotten their grounds. I have inherited the same values, beliefs and passion and chose a sane way of demonstrating them.
I, being the third child, have always been looked upon as a fragile kid. I was brought up in a safe environment without obstacles and troubles. My parents have been more protective and caring in my case than in those of my siblings. Both of my sisters became independent at a very young age. But they feared their “kanchi chori” might not be able to face the challenges that life offered. They feared disappointment and hardship might taint my positive self image and desire to succeed. They feared their fragile kid might get kicked and broken. My mom used to say I have a weak heart. But not anymore. Thank you, Teach for Nepal!
“What if your first job was to change the nation?”
“What if I made my parents believe their daughter was strong enough?”
“What if I could prove that I too have a strong heart?”
“What if I could change myself, my parents’ thought and the nation simultaneously?”
And henceforth, my journey started.
Someone with a weak heart found a way to reveal her secret strengths. Someone became the rainmaker in the desert in her own way. Someone got kicked but instead of breaking down, she grew stronger. Someone found place in the hearts of hundreds. Someone did not give up when things didn’t turned out as planned. Someone understood that change is slow but not impossible. Someone stood up against every odds and shone brighter than the stars. Someone made her way out from her comfortable room into that village, into that small room with multiple rat holes and into that even smaller tent. Someone took the courage to walk out of that damned door and change the numbers. And that someone is not just me but every TFN fellow.
Being a part of TFN was not a social work for me. It was an opportunity of a lifetime that I will always feel proud about. I can now see myself in the mirror and see a person worthy of my respect and admiration. This person smiling back at me definitely has a strong heart, stronger than before, stronger than my parents ever knew.
Someone asked me earlier, “So, how was your fellowship? Any better results?”
I replied, “I have to wait for my students’ SLC results to actually tell how my fellowship went.”
But today, as I sit down and look around, I know in my heart that my fellowship was more than successful. After all that I have experienced, how can it not be successful?
We did our best to spread the light in the lives of our students and the community we worked in and now we pass the strength and passion to the new members of TFN family.
Light always finds its way in and through the darkness and in our TFN, it is the light of love and knowledge that finds its way in the hearts of thousands of children.
Someone rightly said, “We build the road and the road builds us.”
I built my road in these two years and it built me.