CHITWAN, Oct 13: Struggling to eke out a living with odd jobs, one thing Man Kumari Chepang, 38, of Dhading district never gave up her longing for schooling. It must have been because of that inextinguishable zeal, she doesn´t feel awkward going to Chitwan Higher Secondary School along with her children.
Like every five in the morning she pedals back to her room after buying a sackful of green corn from Narayanghat market.
She feeds her children, gets them dressed up and leaves for school with them before the warning bell rings. Finishing her classes, he goes straight to the market where her husband Santa Bahadur Chepang, 40, sells roasted corn on the roadside, their livelihood since the past couple of years.
She finds time to study in the night when everyone goes to bed. And the next morning, it´s the same story again.
"When we married off our elder daughter, I knew I had to work harder but I was determined that I would never quit studies," says Man Kumari.
"I was already pregnant with my youngest daughter when I started going to school. I couldn´t continue my studies as our economic condition was very weak so we left Kaule village (in Jogimara VDC of Dhading district) in search for better work," says Man Kumari.
While in Jogimara, Man Kumari and her husband would crush stones to earn a living. In Dhading she was able to study till class 7 under adult literacy program. "People used to stare at me in wonder when I went to school with children clinging to my back," recalls Mani Kumari.
From Kaule, the family shifted to Padampur VDC in Chitwan where they bought a small piece of land and built a hut.
They still couldn´t find any work but she and her children were able to get free education in Chitwan. "When nothing worked, we started selling roasted corn on the roadside," recalls Mani Kumari.
Today Man Kumari studies in class 8 and her three children are in lower grades at the same school.
"Despite all the hardships and difficulties, I feel happy to continue my education," she told Republica at a recent meeting.