“I want to become a doctor so I can help poor people who don’t have health facilities.”

Sushma is 15 years old and is in Year 10, the final year of secondary education. She is from Olkadunga, about a day’s walk from her school in Junbesi. There is no public transportation so the only option is to walk.

Her father is a teacher so she has always been brought up to do her best in her studies. Her older brother is studying engineering in Kathmandu. Sushma knows that if she works hard and does well in her year-end examinations, she might be able to continue her studies and go on to university in Kathmandu. But it is very expensive and there are no guarantees.

Sushma feels very strongly about the need for more doctors in Nepal: “In my childhood, I saw many people die because of a lack of health facilities and I lost my best friend to malnutrition.”

Being in the boarding house is a good option for Sushma and her family: “If there was no boarding house, I would have to live in a rented home where I have to cook myself and do all the housework myself. And it would be very expensive for my family. In the boarding house, we have a cook to prepare our food and teachers are there to help us with our studies.”

Sushma is convinced that even if she lived locally, the benefit of having teachers in all of her core subjects and getting extra hours of tuition before and after school would be crucial to getting the good results she needs: “The best part of living in the boarding house is that we are getting help from our teachers who can help us solve our problems. I really enjoy learning English by talking with visiting English-speaking interns and from watching the news on television. I also go to the library once or twice a week to get English grammar books and novels.

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