As the second wave of Coronavirus is spreading in Nepal like a wildfire, all the hospitals in Kathmandu and surrounding areas are over flooded with covid patients. In these challenging times, the frontline workers working to save lives are real heroes. Mandira Timalsina, a graduate of Seti Devi School in SokhelBansbari village, is one of our heroes.  

Most people do not have a safe place to live in isolation in their homes. There are not enough hospital beds. Recognizing this dire situation, Dakshinkali municipality and other local organizations have made a joint effort to set up a 15-bed isolation unit at Chalnakhel Community Hospital. Rukmini Foundation has also been one of the partners in setting up the isolation unit.  

I am also immensely proud to report that one of the health workers in that health center is our Bahini, Mandira Timalsina. Mandira has come a long way since she was a Rukmini scholar. We feel so proud that the girl we had hoped to stop from early childhood marriage has grown up to be an essential caretaker in this pandemic.  

Childhood and Family 

Mandira grew up in the village of Bansari (Bamboo Field in Nepali) with her family of five. Her father is a Driver by profession, and her mother is a homemaker. Mandira is the middle child with two siblings. She was a happy child who had many friends in the neighborhood. With limited income, Mandira’s family was facing difficulties in providing for the growing family’s needs, but her parents had a powerful desire to educate all the children so that they could have a better future.

Schooling 

Mandira attended three different schools before graduating from High school. In her early days in school, she struggled to pay attention in her classes and had to repeat the first grade. She was sad to lose her classmates who moved up, and this incident made her feel ashamed also.  After the initial setback, she started paying attention to her studies and never failed in school. By the time she was in the 4th grade, she was the top student and getting prizes and praises from her teachers. Her family was delighted with Mandira’s success.  

Mandira’s parents always wanted to give the best education for their children. After their elementary schooling in their community school all three children were admitted to Shikharapur High School, where education was considered better than other public schools. Mandira made many friends in that new school also and she took part in cultural programs and did well in her studies. However, her parents could not afford to keep three children in a private school with their limited incomeUnderstanding their parents’ difficulties, Mandira and her sister decided to study in their local area public school, Seti Devi High School, one of the best public schools in the area. Mandira was happy to study with her friends in her local area. 

When Mandira joined the Rukmini program she loved all the extra activities the foundation provided. Her most favorite program was the Didi program where she could show her talent in dancing. Her most inspiring Didi is Shristi K.C. who was the guest Didi at one of the Didi programs. She shared her story of how she overcame her loss and turned into strength. Despite being visually impaired, she has become successful as a dancer and a motivational speaker who was able to turn her “Pain into Power”.

Mandira’s dreams  

In her childhood days, Mandira used to dream of becoming a pilot when she saw a plane flying over her house. Later on as she attended school, she used to think of being a teacher someday after looking at her teachers. Along with her age, her dreams kept on changing. When she was in high school, her grandmother broke her hand and was taken to the hospital for treatment. She saw how the doctors and nurses were helping patients, and she found a new dream and she wanted to be just like themShe did not know much at that time how to get there, but she knew one thing – she had to do very well in school. 

Mandira was selected as a Rukmini Scholar in her 9th grade. She made her family (including the Rukmini Foundation family) proud by passing the High School National Level Exam in the First Division. She had already decided what to study in college. So, she started looking for the college entrance examination and succeeded in getting the first position among the girls in the entrance examination for the Radiography training. The program is well accredited, and its completion would give her a better chance of getting hired. She also received a full scholarship for her study. That was the happiest day for her and her family. She enrolled in the program and completed it with good standing. 

Sense of pride and joy: Current Job 

Mandira wanted to study further but decided to help her family and gain practical knowledge at the same time. She got a job in Radiography as soon as she completed her diploma. She is working as a Radiographer in Chalnakhel Primary Health Center. She feels some sense of pride for providing some service to the community in this pandemic situation. She is working day and night in helping people in life and death situations. She wants to do more and wishes there were more hospital beds and oxygen cylinders to serve more people.  

Mandira’s parents are forced to stay home due to lockdown and are not able to work. But they are happy that their children have become successful and are taking care of the household. Mandira’s brother has also finished his study in Architect engineering and has started working.  

A Hero when we needed her most 

Mandira has a strong will and determination, confidence, and a loving and helpful nature. She has many friends whom she enjoys meeting in her limited free time and she loves to share her learning and experiences. She also loves to read and gets inspired by books. She likes to cook for the family and helps out in household activities. Her family believes in her confidence and the sense of responsibility towards the family and the community. She is helping to lift the burden from their parents, who have endured extreme hardship while giving her the gift of education. 

There is so much about Mandira that we could write that would not fit into a short article like this. Like countless health care professionals around the globe who are fighting the pandemic to keep us safe, they are all our heroes who deserve our gratitude and admiration, and we are so grateful to have a former student like Mandira being a hero for the community when needed most. 

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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