Arpana*, a girl aged 17, is studying in Grade 8 in a public school in Kathmandu. She was born in a poor family of marginalized community in a remote area of eastern Nepal. Her father left the mother and got married with another woman once Arpana’s mother got laparoscopic operation. At that time Arpana and Arpan (sister and brother) were 3 and 2 years old. Despite her past, Arpana, has been able to overcome difficulties and develop resilience.
Challenges faced by Arpana After living with their grandparents for a while, the children started living with their father and step-mother in rented rooms in Kathmandu. The younger brother of her step-mother also arrived in Kathmandu and started living together in the same rented rooms (one bed-room and one kitchen). Both parents used to go for work and the both children Arpana and Arpan stayed with the maternal uncle. The Arpana’s step mother gave birth to a baby. Arpana was responsible for caring the new born baby in home. In the absence of Arpana’s parents, the maternal uncle started abusing Aprana sexually while pretending to carry her like a baby. The adult also threatened to kill all the three children if she disclosed anything to others. She was depressed and tried to kill herself twice.
The perpetrator could not get any job in Kathmandu for a year and he left the home when Arpana’s father asked him to return back to the village. Her father could not earn enough money to sustain themselves in Kathmandu. So, all the members of the family returned back to their own village. She was again admitted in grade three in a public school of their village. The step mother again gave birth to another baby. So, Arpana was busy taking care of her 3 siblings as well as getting engaged in all the household activities which hindered her to attend the school regularly.
How to overcome difficulties?
Arpana could not tolerate the situation in the home created by her step-mother and tried to kill herself again. However, suddenly, she remembered her best friends in the class. She thought for a while that there are many girls like her who are undergoing with the same difficulties and they are also her true friends. An inner voice of her soul told her to be bold and courageous. It was the moment that the revelation happened in her mind. This thoughtful moment changed her life completely. She perceived that this was not the right way to run away and so she had to overcome difficulties. She believed that “Life is a precious gift from God”. Henceforth, she never thought of ending her life but ready to accept the challenges in her life. This was the moment when the death was defeated.
The maternal grandparents heard about the situation of Arpana’s and asked her mother to be responsible towards them. However, the mother couldn’t look after her and asked Arpana to stay in an employer house and do some household work and in return she could study in a public school. Arpana spent about 3 years in that house as domestic worker. She has now a new job with better work conditions and she has joined an Art Training Programme supported by CWISH. Now she knows that overcome difficulties is possible, and so, has been developing a resilient identity. Overall, she now looks her life in an optimistic way and awaits for better future ahead.
*name changed to protect identity