Kamal Pahari (22 years) lives with his family in Badikhel VDC, Lalitpur District. He belongs to Pahari community- an endangered ethnic group numbering 14,000 only. They are six members in his family and he is the eldest child.
His family is economically poor, and depends on agriculture and bamboo craft. It is difficult to manage two square meals for the entire family due to low income. Like other poor families in Nepal, his parents are illiterate. Hence, they do not have any options other than agriculture or working as daily wage laborers.
Although his parents were poor but they understood the value of education, so they admitted him to a local government school at age 5. According to a teacher who taught him in class one, he was a not a very studious child. While he was in the second grade, he was identified by Good Neighbors Nepal (GNN), a local partner NGO of GNI. He enrolled in GNN’s Hostel Program in 2003. At the hostel, he got a proper environment and facilities conducive for education. He started to become serious in his studies. He became a sincere student, worked hard every day. The fruits of his labor- he came second in third grade, and never looked back.
He also started enthusiastically participating in the extra-curricular activities organized by the school. He won competitions: first position in quiz contest, football, etc. Every year up to grade seven, he stood second in his class. For the eighth grade, he changed the school because his current school was a lower secondary school- offering classes up to seventh grade only.
Teachers in his new school, Kitini Higher Secondary school, also found that he is a hard-working student, and hoped that he would shine at his new school as well. He stood second in grade eight, grade nine, and secured the first position in the tenth-grade sent-up exam. He appeared in the S.L.C (School Leaving Certificate) exam in 2011 and as expected scored 1st division.
One month after the results, he joined Araniko College Of Management with hotel management as a major subject. Simultaneously, he started volunteering at Good Neighbors Nepal (GNN), Badikhel Community Development Project office (BCDP) as a volunteer. While volunteering, he learned to work in the community, handle office and sponsorship service programs responsibilities: writing annual report and annual progress analysis of sponsored children; tuition center management; data collection and compilation. He was also assigned to take care of the documentation process of 60 sponsored children of “Shree Bageshwary Primary School”. He dutifully carried out all the documentation.
His ‘volunteership’ came to an end on 31st Dec 2013. He was not sure of what to do next. Luckily, a vacancy was announced for the post of Assistant-Teacher-Cum-Social-Mobilizer (ATSM) in January 2014. He also applied for the post. He was selected for the interview and finally got hired. Currently, he is working for Badikhel Community Development Project (BCDP) as ATSM.
He says, ” the day I joined the project is the most memorable day of my life. After joining the project, I have got lots of opportunities to develop my career; which I think, I would have never got working somewhere else. Moreover, my parents and siblings are very happy with my progress. Now, I feel a sense of satisfaction, as I can support my family in difficult situations. All in all, I am very happy that I have been able to change my life and my family’s living standard.”