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Breaking barriers, inspiring change: Meet Diksha from She Creates Change

May 18, 2023

Girls' Education Nepal

In a world that often measures beauty by external appearances, one young girl named Diksha discovered the true essence of beauty and embarked on a path to empower herself and others. This is the inspiring story of Diksha, a Room to Read Girls’ Education Program student from Nepal who learned to see her own beauty and went on to challenge unjust traditions and strive for gender equality in her community.

Inside Nepal’s educational landscape 

While Nepal’s education system has seen significant improvements in the past few decades, there is more progress to be made, and many students still lack access to a quality education. UNICEF states that more than 151,000 primary school age children are out of school in Nepal, and attendance and dropout rates remain inconsistent. This is partially due to financial hardship and the opportunity cost of attending school, as well as household responsibilities. In terms of attendance, UNICEF reports that 18 percent of children do not complete primary school, 27 percent do not complete lower secondary school and 73 percent do not complete upper secondary school. For girls, the risk of dropping out is even higher and they are more likely to leave school earlier than boys. Unfortunately, girls’ education is still not seen as a priority in some rural households. Child marriage is also a relatively common practice with 25 percent of Nepali women aged 20 to 24 years being married between their 15th and 18th birthday, according to UNICEF.

Diksha’s story: challenging social norms 

Diksha’s skin was a darker shade than other people in her village. Although Diksha felt beautiful on the inside, she faced persistent teasing and discrimination from her peers and even some of her own family members. This angered Diksha’s sister, who decided to help Diksha learn to see her own beauty and recognize the importance of diversity and difference. 

This experience, coupled with the knowledge Diksha gained through Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program, inspired Diksha to speak out against injustices in her community. When she learned that her friend Sita was not allowed to leave home during her menstrual cycle, she knew she had to act. She approached Sita’s grandmother and explained why Sita shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of her body and why her menstrual cycle should not keep her from her education. 

Read Diksha’s story in the free She Creates Change book

Diksha's journey from self-doubt to self-acceptance, from witnessing injustice to taking action, is a testament to the transformative power of developing self-confidence and using it to uplift others. Her determination to fight for gender equality serves as an inspiration for us all to stand up for what is right and work towards a more inclusive and just society.

 

Diksha's journey from self-doubt to self-acceptance, from witnessing injustice to taking action, is a testament to the transformative power of developing self-confidence and using it to uplift others. Her determination to fight for gender equality serves as an inspiration for us all to stand up for what is right and work towards a more inclusive and just society. 

Diksha is one of the girls featured in She Creates Change,  Room to Read’s multimedia storytelling initiative to promote gender equality through the stories of young women. The project includes six animated and live action short films that profile how brave young women like Diksha in historically low-income communities have utilized skills and mentorship to overcome obstacles in their lives from food scarcity to harassment to early marriage. She Creates Change aims to inspire young women everywhere to see themselves as the heroes of their own stories.  

The She Creates Change film series, which will be released in October 2023 to commemorate International Day of the Girl, aims to reach all 432 million adolescent girls globally with content and educational curriculum that supports them in creating change in their communities.  

Learn more about She Creates Change