Living the dream, helping the community

Chhani Marandi treating a patient at Anjali Hospital, Biratnagar

Jhapa, 12 December, 2018- Chhani Marandi, 24, of Shivastakshi Municipality -2, Jhapa always dreamed of pursuing her education and standing on her feet but circumstance forced her to become a domestic worker.

She lost her father at the age of 5. Her mother Solma Marandi shouldered the responsibility of earning for the family of eight. She continued to work at the master's house to feed her children and pay the debt they had borrowed for her husband’s treatment.

Chhani recalls the time when her elder brother and sister left school to support the family’s income. After her father’s demise, Marandi family had a very hard time managing two meals per day, so continuing her education was just a distant dream for Chhani. Unable to support her education, the family was forced to send Chhani to the master's home as a domestic worker. She didn’t get any remuneration but was supported for education at a nearby public school named ‘Shree Laxminarayan Primary School’ since grade 3. She said “Our family’s situation was very dire. Two of my elder sisters were compelled for early marriage as a result of constant family pressure and acute poverty.”

Chhani was bright in studies and achieved good grades. However, during her grade 10 preparation (School Leaving Certificate), she had difficulty in managing time and decided to return home. Surrounded by various challenges, she successfully passed SLC examination in 2014. However, she did not have any source for continuing her further studies. She was the only girl from Santhal community to appear in the SLC examination in the year from Jhapa.

Her fate changed after she heard that Lutheran Community Welfare Society (LCWS), an implementing partner of Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal has been providing scholarship to the girls of Santhal and Mushar community as a part of Nepal Development Project.  She applied to get enrolled in the 18 months' Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery (ANM) course. She was selected for the course at Madan Bhandari Memorial Academy, a technical educational institution. She is among the 10 youths from Santhal and Mushar community who graduated ANM course with support from LWF Nepal.

After graduating the ANM course, she began job hunting in different medical institutions in Jhapa and Morang. Finally, she got a job at “Anjali Hospital, Birtamod”.

She currently earns NRs 8,000 as a basic salary and makes additional money working overtime equal to her basic salary. She said, “I have been able to support my family economically and in addition make savings of NRs 5000 on a monthly basis for any future expense. I plan to buy a scooter which will make travelling easier. It will also help me to provide health services at the community on phone calls for additional earning.”

Solma Marandi, expressed how proud she is of her daughter. She said, “Previously my neighbors refused to grant me loan for my daughter’s education. Now the same neighbors come to my house requesting for health check-up. It makes me very proud and happy”. She further added, “There are no other girls in my community in the same position getting the same respect as my daughter.”

Dr. Dipesh Pokhrel, Medical Superintendent at the Anjali Hospital said, “We are happy to recruit a girl from Santhal community and provide working opportunity at our hospital. She is very sincere and dedicated to her work and serves the people with honesty.”

For Chhani the opportunity became a door towards a better future. She said, “I lost my father because we weren’t able to afford proper treatment. Since then I always dreamt to become a health worker. I am grateful for the opportunity provided by LWF and LCWS to serve the community. I believe that it was god’s grace to me and my dreams.” She expresses her commitment to treat poor family free of cost at her home.

She further said, “Now I want to take an advance training on ‘reproductive health’ and “handling delivery cases’ which I feel will be helpful for my future career. I will be able to support females in my community.”

Dr Prabin Manandhar, Country Director, LWF Nepal said, “We focus on providing skills and trainings to women and girls from marginalized communities in rural areas. LWF continues supporting these women and girls to stand on their feet and secure their future.” 


Text by: Kritagya Regmi and Suman Rai (Nepal Evalengical Lutheran Church)

Photo by: Suman Rai