I am not convinced myself, how it was possible to have all these opportunities being born in a small remote village, where still there is no any school, no telephone, no internet, no any national or international organization. Nothing just a small village of around 500 people mostly women and children.
All the achievement, I have received so far is sometimes like a nightmare for myself. I still remember those days, where I have to wake up early in the morning, clean and tidy the house and utensils, feed cattle and clean their house and get ready for school. The school was almost 1 hour from the house, so I have to eat my meals as soon as possible and run for the school. Many times I was late for the school. It’s not just me but many of my girlfriends.
Sometimes in the class, when I didn’t understand the lecture from the teacher, I used to stand up and asked the questions but every time when I ask the question, the boys used to laugh so loudly and the girls (even my best friend) used to star at me. Many times I even fought with boys and one day I dare to complain about it the principal. Instead of providing any solution, the principal who was also my father friend kindly request me to wait for some days. After couple of days, the school introduces the office hour system for students who seek extra help from the teacher. I was happy with the system thinking that at least my problem solved but that was another way to discourage girl to speak in the classroom and raise questions.
But at least there was an alternative for us (girls) to ask questions. I still remember the days in the school where we have two toilets one for students and another for teachers. The teacher’s toilet was exclusively for teachers and the student toilets used to share by girls and boys. Most of the times, we used to go to farmer’s paddy field, which was next to our school, for toilet purpose because of the boys. Many of my friends didn’t come to school during their menstruation time only because we didn’t have enough and separate toilets for girls and boys. These days were during my secondary level school but now many things have changed. The school which was government run school has been now managed by community. There are separate toilets for girls and boys but still not enough. More than 800 students share these two toilets where more than 50% are girls in the school.
I am sharing this because being grown up in this type of environment; I have never thought neither imagined that I will go out of the country. I still remembered that my classmates who were boys always dreamed and prepared to go to Kathmandu (capital city of our country and out of the country. Since my English was good among all in the class, my friends used to suggest me to go to Kathmandu and continue my college. Even going to Kathmandu for me was a nightmare at that time. Neither I have confidence nor do I have any one to encourage and support me to go to the capital city of my country. I was not even allowed to stay one night in my relatives house, how can I dream to go to Kathmandu?
However, my father was very supportive for my education. He was the one who supported me despites of various challenges he faced from my community for sending me to college and university in a city. He was the one who used to give me pocket money for snack during my college life because I had to spend around four hours just for traveling (both going and coming) to the college. I have to wake up 4am every day to get ready to college and return to home at 2pm every day. We do not have bus from the college so I have waited hours and hours waiting for a bus. Sometimes even the bus would not allow us to get inside even if we told them that we will pay full bus fare (The bus fare was Rs. 5 (0.07$) but as a student discount we used to pay Rs. 1(0.01$)). Sometimes we do not even have money to pay the student discounted bus fare so we used to borrow from friends. Now the student bus fare has been reached to 0.07$. The entire price has been reached the peak. Recently, my husband went to Nepal for his research and he wrote this in his status “The price of the basic needs to everything else in Nepal seems to have already skyrocketed...yet, I can see tsunami of people around market areas- a great dilemma of Nepalese societies. I don't know how people can celebrate festivals in Nepal under the given situation!!! me have to try to be economic after all and be happier at the same time!!! ”. Those days were so exhausting.
If the above statements continue for some years, there is no doubt that the more exhausting days are coming soon in the future. Again, My father was the one who told me about Asian University for Women which is located in Bangladesh. He was the one who encouraged me to apply for the scholarship and take me to Kathmandu for the written exam and interview after I was selected in short list. I had never imagined that I will go to Kathmandu and then to Bangladesh. It was my first time to fly in an airplane. I was so frightened and scared. I don’t have words to explain. Some of my Nepalese friend’s were from very good private school; they talked English very well in the reception with the representative of AUW. I was little shy, I could understand half of what they were saying. I used to answer them either Yes or No or sentence in broken language. Now it made me laugh when I remembered the first day in Bangladesh.
Although now I left AUW, I am very thankful to that university. AUW has been eye-opening place for me. Many people I have met in AUW and through AUW are very inspiring and supportive. I got chance to participate in VOF 2009 competition and AUW help me supportive 24 hours internet facility and laptop. Isn’t it amazing? But for some reasons, I left AUW to start my master degree here in Korea. Last year was the most fabulous year in the history of my life. The beginning of the year, I got chance to attend One Young World Summit in London and meet around 800 young people around the globe who cares about our generation. This was only possible with the help of Janice wong, world pulse member. I am very indebted to her for helping me and encourage me in my every step. After couples of month, I won a IWHC young visionary grant 2010 with the help of One young World and World pulse media members. With the amount I won, I get chance to organized free health clinic and street drama back in my community. It was a very fruitful experience.
After some months, then I was went to USA for Media tour award from World pulse where I visited five different states and talk in more than 10 different places including US department of States. Immediately upon my return, the first TED women conference invited me for my talk in in Washington Dc so again I moved to USA. The opportunities were pouring one another and all of these opportunities help me to meet many likeminded people and share my stories.
A month ago, I went to Zurich, Switzerland to lead the resolution again at second one young World Summit. at this time, my world pulse mentor Carol Annderson and again Janice helped me to attend this wonderful summit. Till now I have already visited, India, Bangladesh, UK, Norway, USA, Switzerland, Korea and I have spend sometimes in Bahrain, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey and Honkong. I have never imagined even going to Kathmandu but now I am exploring the world and meeting with people from various countries. Have I miss anything else??
Below is a small letter from Jade that inspires me to write this long journey. “Hello sisters Hope, Jackie, and Sunita, As the 2011 tour approaches and the World Pulse team prepares for a 2nd tour, I can't help but become overwhelmed with emotion and memories of the unforgettable journey I was honored to take part in with you three visionaries. I remember riding the trolley in sunny San Francisco. I remember watching each of you share your story in front of captivated audiences, and being moved to tears each time I heard you spoke of your struggles, your triumphs, your leadership, and your visions. I remember laughing and laughing and laughing. I remember a van of giggling, beautiful women pulling up at the Denver airport to pick me up and embracing each of you in person, like a dream, women who I had come to admire and love from across the oceans and who I now call my sisters.
It is a bit bittersweet to embark on a tour without you, I am also excited to know these three women who are stepping into a legacy that you each created, and who will carry the flame that you lit with your voices. Sending love to all of you and gratitude for your courage. xoxo Jade”
Thank you Jade for your inspiring letter. The lesson I have learnt from my life is that Keep your hard work, love yourself and accept the challenge and find someone who can inspire, encourage and support you. Dream about your future, One day you will achieve sooner or later.