From Shephard to Scholar, Transforming Lives Through Education

"If it weren’t for UDAAN center, I would still be herding my family’s livestock, but thanks to the invaluable support I received at the UDAAN center supported by NCE Nepal and CARE Nepal, I could resume my educational journey." -Januka BK

Januka BK, hailing from an impoverished family in Dadagaun, Ward No. 6 of Jajarkot Municipality, faced numerous obstacles in her pursuit of education. Her parents had to relocate to India for income, compelling her to discontinue her schooling at grade 2. She then had to live with her grandparents, where she spent most of her time engaged in household chores. The land her family owned was relatively little, extremely barren, and inadequate, further hindering her educational prospects.

Januka's parents' absence led to her involvement in domestic chores, gathering fodder, and herding livestock, sidelining her education. Unfortunately, her relatives did not prioritize her academic aspirations during this period. She watched her peers attend school while she managed the family's cattle, wishing to join them but facing a number of challenges. She tried to convince her grandparents to allow her to attend school, but it was impossible.

In 2022/23, an opportunity emerged for out-of-school girls like Januka. UDAAN accelerated learning centers, with support from CARE Nepal, offered free education in her village. Januka, along with other out-of-school girls, commenced their studies at the UDAAN facility, benefiting from community facilitators and educational resources.

Nirmala, Januka's facilitator at the UDAAN center, devised a plan to enable Januka to continue her formal education after completing her UDAAN course. Through a persuasive video conversation, Nirmala successfully convinced Januka's parents to allow their daughter to attend school. Though initially resistant, her parents eventually agreed, even providing financial support for her education. While still juggling household responsibilities, Januka now dedicates more time to her studies. As a result, there have been steady improvements in her grades.

In 2023, with the assistance of the municipality and the UDAAN program, Januka gained admission to Laxmi Secondary School. She now regularly attends school, which pleases her parents. Januka acknowledges that without the UDAAN courses, she might have continued as a herder. However, she now finds happiness in learning while managing her household tasks and aspires to become a police officer after completing her education.

Januka reiterates that the UDAAN center rekindled her motivation to further her education. She expresses her aspirations, saying, "I hope to secure a job after graduation to support my family and contribute to my country. I extend my gratitude to the Municipality, School, CARE, NCE Nepal, and the UDAAN Center for their invaluable assistance. I also want to thank facilitator Nirmala Hamal for inspiring me to pursue my studies, which I believe will ultimately resolve all my challenges. I am delighted to continue my studies alongside my friends, and I hope that my dreams will one day become a reality."