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“I see a little Ambika in all the girls I now mentor.”

Meet Ambika, a Room to Read Girls’ Education Program graduate from Nepal | February 12, 2024

Girls' Education Life Skills Nepal

Ambika is a proud older sister — a didi in Nepal. Since 16, Ambika has been her family’s primary income earner, supporting her parents and four younger siblings on her own. She completed her education, too, and ensured her siblings did the same.  
Ambika now sees herself as didi to dozens of girls in Room to Read's Girls’ Education Program. As a social mobilizer, Ambika provides one-on-one mentoring and support, helping girls navigate the many challenges of adolescence and complete secondary school.  

 

Ambika, center, mentors two students enrolled in Room to Read's Girls' Education Program in Nepal. 


“When my father stopped working during my eighth-grade year,” Ambika reflected, “I knew I had to complete my education to take care of my family.”
 

Ambika's father worked in factories and at construction sites until illness forced him to stay home. As the eldest sibling, Ambika felt a deep sense of responsibility. So, she put her strong academic skills to use, offering tutoring to local families for a fee. Her small business helped meet the family's basic needs and ensured she could continue her studies.  

“This was the toughest period of my life,” she remembered. “My daily schedule felt as tight as if I were running in the country.” 

 

Ambika, center, conducts a life skills lesson with students at a Room to Read partner school in Nepal. 


Her secondary school years were grueling and lonely. The obstacles that lined her path to graduation often felt too large and too heavy to overcome. Like many girls in Nepal, Ambika spent her first menstrual cycle alone, abiding by a cultural expectation that girls spend the length of menstruation at home, often in solitude. Not long after, her health deteriorated. She was bedridden for a month. Doctors were unable to identify the cause. Her neighbors suggested marriage as a cure.
 

Through it all, Ambika persevered to complete her exams. And she enrolled in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program, accessing crucial support and guidance through her Room to Read social mobilizer, a woman mentor from her community. 

“If not for my will to pursue education and break this cycle of misery, I would have given up," Ambika said. "If not for the voice of my own didi, my [Room to Read] mentor, echoing in my head, I would have given up on everything.”

She also learned essential life skills classes like decision-making, resilience and perseverance — skills that Ambika used to set goals and pursue her dreams of graduating, supporting her family and becoming a mentor to the next generation of young girls in her community.

“Because of the life skills and guidance I received through Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program,” she said, “I see a little Ambika in all the girls I now mentor. I want them to know they are not alone and that they can achieve anything.” 

 

 

Ambika, right, engages with students. 


When girls like Ambika develop life skills that empower them to overcome limiting gender norms, they become women who lead.
 

$30 a month can support another girl in our program that has helped over 3.4 million girls around the globe.

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