Topala attends a teachers college in Pyuthan Khalanga, a one-hour walk from her village. Pyuthan is a hillside bazaar town and the administrative center for the Middle Hills district of Rapti Zone in Mid-western Nepal. From 1996-2006, Rapti Zone was at the center of the Maoist insurgency that ultimately impacted Nepal’s transition from a kingdom ruled by a Shah dynasty into a republic.
Following her’s death father in 2011, Topala and her mother worked “in construction” for two years, carrying bricks in baskets on their backs. Topala survived the hard labor with a sense of humor and an eagerness to pursue an education and make a difference for others in her community.
In her scholarship essay, Topala wrote: “I am from the indigenous community called Magar. I want to get a college degree so that I can serve my society and be self-dependent. I chose the faculty of education because of my longing to be a good teacher. I will teach poor students like me in the future and devote my life to helping those deprived people of remote areas.”
In her free time, Topala enjoys knitting boa scarves!