Stories of Nepal: Meelan
Monday, August 20, 2018
We have partnered with our brilliant friend Jay from Stories of Nepal to tell the stories of individuals at Kopila Valley and in the surrounding communities. In case you missed the first two posts, you can find them here.
"I was a tomboy. In a group of 4 friends, I was the only girl. From early on, I hung out with the boys. I always felt safe with them. They protected me. I would easily go in a crowd of boys and mingle with them. I gave my opinions freely. My husband tells me that he noticed me due to my unconventional character. He is the opposite, a quiet and a calm man. After marriage, I moved to Surkhet. For a while, I struggled to have a voice and I felt like I was silenced in a more patriarchal society. Nonetheless, I did not stop striving for equality in my workplace.
My work connects me to girls and women who come from broken families. The stories are heartbreaking, of traumas, of child marriages, sexual abuse and various mental health issues. Listening to these stories is not easy but I think I developed a strong coping mechanism from my mother, who made sure I received an equal upbringing and I was not only confined to the stereotypical gender roles that our society has prescribed. She was so passionate about education that when her father argued that she was literate enough to read the letter when she gets married and that there was no need for her to continue with school, she left home and rented her own place to continue with her school. That was my mother, and she instilled a value of service in me which I am able to use for the women and girls that need my support. When anyone comes to share their problems with me, I, without delay try to find a solution for them. And in those moments when they come and hug me, when they smile with abandonment, I feel free. Happiness for me lies in bringing a smile in someone else’s face, giving a sense of safety to some else’s heart and spreading love wherever we go." (Meelan Karki, Surkhet)