Up to now I’ve been sharing stories about the current beneficiaries of CONCERN. Their background, their parents and the reality they face. I’ve also talked a lot about the importance of education, and how going to school will provide these children with a better, brighter future.
Today I want to share the story of Ekaman Shrestha, and give a particular example of how CONCERN’s program can actually change someone’s life for the better.
I met Ekaman at CONCERN’s office last week. I was having a rather low-key day updating CONCERN’s webpage when a very lively man came in with Bijaya. They both looked very happy to be seeing each other, and even though they were speaking Nepali, I could tell they were sharing exciting news.
Ekaman turned out to be a former employee of CONCERN. He worked here for over 10 years! But most importantly, Ekaman is a former beneficiary who is now a teacher at a local village, Ghorka. He came to Kathmandu for a couple of days…and I was lucky enough to hear his story!
Ekaman moved to Kathmandu with some friends from his village when he finished his SLC (School Leaving Certificate) to look for better opportunities. He ended up working as a porter at a local market, carrying loads for a couple of rupees. During his time as a porter, he got in touch with CONCERN and become a beneficiary, as they had a program to end child labor in that market at that time.
CONCERN took care of all of Ekaman’s education expenses, and thanks to his determination and hard work, Ekaman finished his education and went to get his diploma at Tribhuwan University. CONCERN also gave him the opportunity to start his professional career at their organization as a field officer. That’s where he realized he wanted to work with children and grew the desire to become a teacher.
Ekaman has been a rural government teacher since 2010. He is determined to not let the kids in his class go through what he went through as a child worker. But he is a very down to earth man, and knows that education alone is not enough. He told me that to end the problem of child labor in Nepal, it is necessary to both educate and empower the kids. For him, it is the role of the government as well as NGOs not only to provide the means so that kids can go to school, but also to make them realize that they can achieve great things with that education. They need to know they are the owners of their lives.
Ekaman is still looking forward to the next step in his career. His plan is to do a Masters now. Actually, the reason he was in Kathmandu was to try to get a position as a permanent teacher in the capital in order to be able to continue working and study at the same time.
Ekaman is the perfect example of how CONCERN’s program gave a talented, hard working kid that lacked resources the opportunity to fulfill his potential. I hope there can be more Ekamans in the future!
When I asked him if he had any messages for the current beneficiaries, he just said: focus on education first. I hope you enjoy Ekaman’s story as much as I did.
Posted By Cynthia Boruchowicz (Nepal)
Posted Jul 24th, 2017