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Rising above adversity

An early riser, Sisam Tamang revises her lessons before she heads to school every morning. After school, she goes to the church to attend coaching classes. During her leisure time, she helps with daily chores at home. She also loves dancing.

Shy and reserved, 14-year-old Sisam is one of the brightest students in her class. She is also the oldest. Youngest of the five children born to Narwir Tamang and Shantamaya Tamang, she is only the second member of her family, after her brother, to attend school. This year, she resumed school after a three-year break. Both she and her parents are adamant on her completing high school. 

Narwir and Shantamaya are not as healthy as they used to be, but they are determined to do everything in their capacity to help Sisam finish school. Many parents in their community have mortgaged their property for the daughter’s dowry. Sisam’s parents mortgaged every square feet of the land they could call their own to make sure that their daughter could go to a private school.  

The family now lives in a 10x10 feet hut that has plastic and flex for roof and walls, at Paurakh Basti—a squatters’ settlement in Thapathali. Life is not easy and resources are limited for this family, but there’s only one way forward. Sisam’s education might 
have come at a cost, but the family is willing to pay if it means a brighter, better future for their daughter. 

Text & Photos: Shruti Shrestha 

Published: 2018-01-20 11:29:12