Lhamu Sherpa comes from a village in Ramechhap District, east of Kathmandu. Her father cultivated enough food to feed their family and worked as a lama (priest) during the winter, which was their only source of income. The April 2015 earthquake damaged her family’s house and a second earthquake on May 12 destroyed the house and their belongings.
“The earthquake broke our houses and made our hearts fall apart. My family came to Kathmandu to live in a temporary shelter, and my father told me I needed to go to a foreign country, to earn money,” Lhamu says.
In Nepal, sending daughters to work in foreign countries is a worrisome and growing trend that puts young women at further risk. Fortunately, Lhamu learned about the BMKF scholarship program and her family has since found work at a small hotel. Lhamu plans to return to her village, to teach.
Favorite subject: “Population and English, because both subjects help us address society problems, family planning, etc.”
Life growing up: “I studied at Siddeshwori Secondary High School, a two hour walk from our home. I am the eldest, so I had a lot of household work to do. Everyday, I had to collect firewood and grass for the cattle in the morning and, because the school was so far, I was often late for class. But I tried hard and did my studying at night after finishing all household work and I managed to pass my S.L.C. exam.”
BMKF board member Amanda Wager visited Lhamu Sherpa and her family.
Women’s life in Nepal: “Because of lack of education, there is still huge discrimination between a son and a daughter. Community people send their sons to school but hardly send their daughters. Women and daughters have a lot of responsibilities. They have to work hard to collect firewood, fetch water, cut and collect grasses for cattle, cook for the family, clean, and take cattle for grazing. They’re dependent on their husbands and fathers due to lack of education. Besides gender discrimination, there is caste and social discrimination. Some women are accused and abused as a witch by their communities. Because of these social problems, women in our village are backward.”
Lhamu Sherpa and her sister.
“I want to finish my bachelor of education degree and go back to my birthplace, my village, to work as a high school teacher. As a teacher, I want to spread knowledge and help end discrimination against women. I want to prove that sons and daughters are no different — that daughters can be independent and successful if they are given proper opportunities.”