Today is Mothers’ Day in Nepal. You may be wondering if we are a little early with this post, but In Nepal this celebration falls on the last day of the dark fortnight in the month of Baishakh which falls in April-May.  The actual day changes according to US calendars. This day is known as Mata Tirtha Aunsi, which is basically a day to worship mothers.  The day is known by a more common name “Ama ko mukh herne din” which literally translates to day of looking at mother’s face.  The idea may sound strange, but if somebody has lost a mother or is far away from their mother, this day is meant for prayers honoring your mother, or thanks to the Internet, you can literally see your mother’s face through Skype even though you may be a country away.
Muna Helping Around the House - Portfolio Page ImageSaraswoti at Home - Portfolio Page Image
One of the new scholars (Muna)Helping her mother in the kitchenAnother new scholar (Saraswoti) with her mother

In Nepal, sons and daughters shower their mothers with gifts of sweets. Married daughters come to visit mothers with sweets and other gifts. However, what gift is good enough for the person who gives the gift of life? A mother’s influence is very powerful, and I have benefited from having some great maternal role models.  Even though my mother was uneducated, I was always inspired by her work ethic as well as her kindness towards others.  I could not have become the first girl from my village to finish school or thought about coming to the US to continue my education if I did not have her strength as an example.  My husband’s grandmother, Rukmini, was another big influence in my life as she showed all of us what true power is and what determination means.  She was determined to educate her son because she believed that he would avoid poverty through education, and she was right.  Our whole family has reaped the benefits of her vision and determination.  

Meeting with family members of scholars and community leaders in Nepal

Last year when I visited Nepal, I had the great fortune of being able to meet many of the girls that Rukmini Foundation is supporting.  I also met with many of their mothers and  I could see the pride in their eyes.  These mothers want the best for their daughters, even though they do not have the means to provide all they would like to.  They are proud to see that the girls are eager to learn, and the mothers are hopeful that their daughters will grow up to have children who will have more than they could provide for their own children.  I was happy to be able to meet the mothers and was glad that they were supporting their daughters in their desire to finish school.  There is tremendous power in a mother’s influence and we continue to work with parents to ensure that they are supporting their daughters’ right to education.

Unfortunately for me, neither my mother nor my grandmother Rukmini are alive today, but their spirit, teachings, love, and influence will live within me forever.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all mothers in the world.

Laxmi Aryal

About Laxmi Aryal

Laxmi was the first female in her family to receive an education. While the education she received was limited, she was able to make the best of it and became the first person from her family and village to complete high school, undergraduate studies and eventually a Masters degree. She eventually earned a Masters Degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Public Policy. Hers is an inspirational story that the Rukmini Foundation hopes to replicate. She serves as an inspiration for the foundation and its leadership.
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