Gopal Badaila, 13, is a resident of Purbichauki Rural Municipality in Doti District. He lives with his mother, elder sister, and younger sister. He studies in grade six in Mastamandu Higher Secondary School. He is a sponsored child of GNI Nepal since 2011.
Like many householders in the far-western region of Nepal, Gopal’s father worked in India as a daily wage laborer. He contracted dengue— a fatal disease carried by mosquitoes—and passed away. Gopal was seven then.
Land, the basic means of subsistence for poor families in Nepal, is not what Gopal’s family has adequately. They have approximately one ropani (519 m2) of sloped and infertile land suitable for growing rice and millet. For this family of four, the harvest would last for two months only.
Gopal’s mother, Piuli’s, employment status changed from season to season. Neither, she had work all year round nor she could make ends meet. Usually she worked for neighbors as a farm-hand. Gopal shared his grim situation, “I didn’t have a good uniform and books and stationery and I went to school without them”.
Keeping the family afloat was not easy for Piuli without her husband, the main breadwinner of the family. She was constantly stressed.
As if things were not already worse, Gopal developed piles. A visit to the toilet for him was a real nightmare— acute pain and blood discharges. As the disease progressed Gopal’s presence in the school started to dwindle and become irregular. His education suffered. At one point, the pain became consistent and unbearable, he stayed away from school for a full month.
As a part of the annual activity under the sponsorship service program, GNI Nepal in 2014, organized a general health camp at Gopal’s school. As a sponsored child, he his health checked. His health condition was diagnosed as piles. Gopal underwent a surgery at a hospital in Dhangadhi, the district headquarter of Kailali District in December 2014. GNI Nepal provided a financial aid of NRs. 25,000 to him. It covered all of his medical expenses.
Gopal re-joined school after making a full recovery. Around this time, he received stationery, educational materials and a school uniform from GNI Nepal. Such support is provided to every sponsored child each year. As there were no barriers between him and his education anymore, he totally concentrated his time and energy in his academics. The fruit of his labor, Gopal achieved first position in annual examinations of class five, which he is repeating in every annual examinations.
In November 2016, Mr. Min Ho Choi, Country Director of GNI Nepal visited Gopal. He gave him a track-suit, woolen cap, and sweets, which he says made him feel “special” and has also encouraged him to study harder. He aims to become a teacher at his current school on completing higher education.