Written by Medha Joshi and Krishna Prasad Sharma – As part of our 30th Anniversary of the Nepal project we are highlighting some success stories.
Jyoti Maharjan and Niraj Maharjan are two of the four siblings who came from a modest family background. They share their experiences about how the Rotary – Friends of Nepal-NJ scholarship they received in school changed their life.
The eyes of Jyoti Maharjan shine when she says how happy she feels to teach dancing to students. She works at a finance company and runs a dance center and tuition center in her free time. But she hadn’t always been this way. She recalls her school days, “We felt uncomfortable when we couldn’t see our exam results after failing to clear our exam dues.” She further shares how her sister felt embarrassed when she couldn’t afford the school fees, “My sister went to the school to give exams but she was stopped at the gate as she hadn’t cleared her dues. She had to lose a year of school as a result. Being the eldest she was mature enough to understand and feel the humiliation of not being able to pay the school fees”. Jyoti recalls how hard it was before when she along with her four siblings were enrolled at the school and none of them got scholarships. She tells us how she used the money she got from the Rotary-Friends of Nepal-NJ to pay her own and her brother’s exam fees. She shares how she didn’t have to ask her parents for money to buy stationeries. She was supported from Class 6 to 10 and passed her SLC in 2064.
After teaching students for six years she started working at a finance company. The catastrophic earthquake of 2072 brought down her house. So the steady income she had before is now spent on paying the loan interest she took for rebuilding her house. She says, “Life isn’t easy even now. It’s hard to meet the financial obligations but the scholarship we received in school has helped us to face life’s challenges now.”
Her brother, Niraj Maharjan got the scholarship a year later and was supported from Class 5 to 10. He shares, “The scholarship helped me to study. With the money I got, I used to buy study materials, stationeries, pay exam fees, use as pocket money and make small savings. I used my savings for social work.” As of now he has taken training on electrification from CTEVT. He is happy to use his skills for arranging electrical wiring in his newly built home. He also shares his love for social work demonstrated by his involvement in social projects since his school days. Even now he works actively in the club that these siblings had cofounded. He shares, “The club has organized different programs and events involving adult literacy, skill building and competitions for children.”
When asked about the importance of scholarship support to school students he advocates, “Such scholarships should be continued to support people with less resources. Such scholarships will continue to play an instrumental role to provide support to children who’ve come to the valley from far off parts of the country in search of a better education, a better living.”
Both of the Maharjan siblings are very thankful to their scholarship sponsors. They have a Bachelors degree now. With their joint incomes these siblings pay the loan interests and send their sister to a boarding school. They share that they will also look for chances to go abroad to earn money to clear the home loan. They suggest that such scholarships should also be available at the college and university levels. Sharing their own experiences they say, “We wanted to become lawyer and engineer ourselves but we had to study business at the college level due to our limited financial resources. We want to suggest that these kinds of scholarships should also be available at the college level. So students will be able to study what they are truly passionate about.” An hour of conversation with these siblings was enough to figure how optimistic they were about life. They shared that they wouldn’t give up and continue to face life’s challenges as they come.
Since 1998 we have been supporting the Bal Kumari School with Building project, computer lab, science lab, sports camps and annual scholarships at the school.