Spirits are running high in Nepal as it is time for the longest and the most auspicious festival of the year – Dashain! Last year the celebration was marred by the country still mourning for the thousands lost in the devastating earthquakes and the economic hardships caused by the border dispute with India. While things are still not back to normal, household across Nepal are in celebratory mood and trying to forget the hardships and focus on the positives.

Forgetting hardships is easier said than done though. This is especially true for two of our scholars, Ranjana Karki and Kanchi Tamang, who recently joined the Rukmini family.  What these girls have had to endure at such a young age is unimaginable for the majority of us. Not only were their homes destroyed in the devastation of the earthquakes, but they also had to suffer through losing family members. The emptiness felt by such great loss is even greater during festival seasons – as one tends to recall all the fond memories spent in a home with beloved family members. “We had noticed both Ranjana and Kanchi were feeling very lonely,” said Usha, one of the foundation’s leaders in Nepal. “Every time anyone mentioned doing something during Dashain with their families, both of them would be emotional and quietly wipe their tears.”


Rukmini Didis (mentors), Pramila and Usha, with our Bahinis (scholars), Kaanchi and Ranjana, smile with excitement as they start their day at the civil mall.

Seeing the need to bring a little cheer to Ranjana and Kanchi, our team in Nepal decided to take the girls on a special trip to the capital city of Kathmandu. Didis Usha, Sabina and Pramila ventured out to Kathmandu and took the girls to do some much needed Dashain shopping. During the festival, it is a tradition for every family member to buy new clothes to celebrate the occasion and our staff in Nepal was there to fulfill that role for our scholars.


Kaanchi and Ranjaja enjoy their first escalator ride with Usha (RF Staff).

The Didis led the wide-eyed girls to Civil Mall, a very happening shopping center in Kathmandu. The girls were delighted to see the beautiful, festive décor and a place full of happy shoppers. Going to the mall may not seem like a big deal to most of us, but for these girls, it was a special treat. Even riding the escalator was a newfound experience for these girls who have lived in small villages all their life. The highlight of their day was enjoying some tasty ice cream and buying clothes that they themselves got to pick. Kanchi decided to buy a traditional Nepali dress (salwar suit), while Ranjana found a t-shrit she absolutely loved. The mentors finished the day off by buying the girls some new shoes to go with their outfits.


Usha helps Kaanchi pick out her Dashain outfit at one of the stores at the Mall.

“It was a wonderful day for us as we got to spend time with our bahinis (younger sisters),” Sabina said. “ We are all part of the Rukmini family and it was important that both Ranaja and Kanchi know that we are here for them, through the good times and the bad.” Both girls left the city feeling elated and most importantly, loved and cherished by their Rukmini mentors.


The day comes to a perfect end as all the ladies sit and eat ice cream with their favorite flavor.

We would like to thank our Didis in Nepal for stepping up to provide holiday cheer for our scholars in need, and we wish everyone in Nepal and worldwide who ceelbrates Dashain, a very Happy Dashain.


About Priti Bhattarai

With a Masters from London School of Economics in NGOs and Development, along with courses in Social Policy and Gender and Development, Priti brings with her the experience of both policy and development. She was born in Nepal, brought up in Japan, and has lived in England for eight years. Before moving to the United States, she went back to Nepal and worked on issues concerning Education for All and Gender Equality. Her work entailed creating awareness amongst the communities in rural Nepal on issues concerning both health and education, whilst striving for change in the country’s education policy. She recently moved to the Untied States and has become part of the Rukmini Foundation. With her previous experience working in Nepal, she has a great understanding of Rukmini Foundation’s mission and vision and will chair the Nepal Team Committee to work closely with our team on the ground to ensure progress, productivity and help forge new relationship with other entities in Nepal.
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