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Nepali mother returns to school with her son as part of her search for knowledge

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  Parwati Sunar, a Nepali mother of two, has returned to the educational system she left when she eloped w...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  Parwati Sunar, a Nepali mother of two, has returned to the educational system she left when she eloped with a guy seven years her senior at the age of 15, and now she attends the same school as her son.

Sunar, a seventh-grader in the Himalayan nation's village of Punarbas, said to Reuters from her classroom: "I enjoy learning and am proud to attend alongside students who are like my own children."

In the 29 million-person nation, only approximately 57% of women are read. Sunar, 27, expressed her desire to become "literate enough" to manage household finances.

She remarked, "I think I should not have left my school," citing the need to make up the classes she missed after giving birth to her first child at the age of 16.

Resham, her 11-year-old son, who is a grade below her and rides pillion while she bikes to the neighboring computer lessons they both attend, remarked, "I feel happy to go to school with mum.

He said that his mother wished he might pursue a career in medicine, saying, "We converse while we walk to school and we learn from our discourse."

Sunar did poorly in school but was a quick learner, according to Bharat Basnet, the principal of the rural school Jeevan Jyoti.

Her day starts at daybreak in a two-room, bare-brick building with a tin roof that she shares with her mother-in-law, sons Resham and Arjun, and goats that are corralled in one section. The family use a neighboring piece of public land because their home doesn't have a toilet.

They work in the lush fields surrounding their home, take daily baths in water from a handpump outside, and even bake cakes for birthdays, which Resham cheerfully commemorates with a hibiscus flower tucked behind one ear.

Sunar's spouse supports his family by working as a laborer in Chennai, a city in southern India.

The lowest caste in Hinduism is the Dalit community, sometimes known as the untouchables, and according to Sunar, the family has not experienced any mistreatment as a result.

Nobody discriminates against my family or me, she insisted.

After a straightforward breakfast of rice and lentils, Sunar dresses her son in the school uniform of a light blue blouse and skirt with a striped tie, and they walk for 20 minutes to the school, which is likewise a building with a tin roof and is surrounded by trees.

One of her 14-year-old classmates, Bijay B.K., stated it was enjoyable to be in Sunar's class.

He called his older sister Didi, which is how Nepalis refer to them. She aids me in my studies, and I aid hers.

In Nepal, where they still experience discrimination and child marriage is common despite being against the law, Sunar's efforts may encourage local women who are eager to study beyond their immediate surroundings.

One of her neighbors, Shruti Sunar, a student in the school's 10th grade who is not a related, remarked of her, "She is doing a terrific job." "I believe others should go to education like she has,"

According to official figures, 94.4% of girls are enrolled in basic education, or grades 1 through 8, but Krishna Thapa, president of the Federation of Community Schools, claimed that over half of those students left their studies early due to issues including a lack of textbooks or financial hardship.

Thapa continued, "Schools lack infrastructure, such as restrooms for ladies." Because there are no restrooms, the majority of females quit school during this time.

But Sunar claimed she was motivated to complete the 12th grade and gave up her work as a housemaid in neighboring India to focus on her academics.

This is the current idea, she continued. I have no idea what is in store for me.

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