By Winter Johnson
Once upon a time in Nuwakot, Nepal, 7-year-old Yuvraj Thapa had to leave school to work in a tea stall for three hours every morning and four hours every night just to try to earn money to help the family buy food. Thanks to his aunt, who brought him to Kathmandu, Yuvraj enrolled in grade one at the Asha Vidhyashram School in 2014. Even though he could not read or write, he caught up quickly and got excellent academic results, moving on to secondary school with the help of a scholarship from HOPE worldwide.
Scholarships for students like Yuvraj are based on scholastic performance as well as the needs of their family; the students’ family needs to make less than $4 USD per day or be particularly marginalised or disadvantaged. A scholarship allows the student to gain admission to a local private school and covers entrance fees, exam fees, monthly fees and costs for uniforms, shoes, socks, stationery, books and school bags.
Now 17 and hoping to study engineering at Pulchowk Campus, Yuvraj looks back with fond memories of the Asha Vidhyashram School in Nepal, which gave his life a new beginning.
We spoke with Yuvraj recently to learn more about his story.
HWW: I understand that you had to leave school at age 7 to work in a tea stall. Can you tell us more about that?
Yuvraj: My mother passed away when I was very young, and my family was struggling to buy food. I saw a street vendor earning money by selling tea in the street so I asked him if I could work for him. I worked there for about a year, earning about 150 – 200 Nepalese rupees per day (between £0.94 – £1.25).
Despite working, we were unable to purchase food. It was still difficult for me.
HWW: Your aunt brought you to Kathmandu in 2014 to go to the Asha Vidhyashram School. How did you feel about coming to Kathmandu?
Yuvraj: It was a great experience for me, and I am grateful to my aunt for bringing me to Kathmandu and giving me the opportunity to go to this school.
HWW: What did you enjoy most during your studies at the school?
Yuvraj: I remember Rajendra Sir teaching us how the buildings are constructed and then showing us the process in detail. Looking at the cells of onions and animals was awesome. My favourite subject when I was at the school was Maths, but I found coordinates of Geometry from Maths challenging but very fun to learn.
HWW: What do you remember the most about your time as a student at the Asha Vidhyashram School?
Yuvraj: I remember the pleasant days with my teachers. I enjoyed the teaching style, and I loved learning different extracurricular activities that were held at the school. Those are some of my best memories from the Asha Vidhyashram School. If it were possible, I would like to return to my younger age when I started at the school and live the life of a younger student again.
Click to donate to the Asha Vidhyashram School in Kathmandu.