Bina Gole did not just come alive from the dead to live a normal life, she became one of the few well-educated women leaders out of the most unlikely places. Most people born in rural Nepal have to face so many challenges just to survive. Thinking beyond the daily necessity is often a luxury many cannot afford. However, Bina Gole had dreams as big as the hills surrounding her tiny village.
Bina Didi’s Early Years
Bina Gole, a second child among seven, was born in a remote village in the Ramechhap district where basic necessities like schools, hospitals, and roads were not easily accessible. Due to a lack of awareness and family planning practices, people had many children.
Bina almost died at the age of seven with measles. Her parents had to endure three days of difficult journeys to get her to a hospital. Sadly though, the doctor declared her dead, and the hospital people covered her with a white linen sheet. She recalls, “My parents were In an unbelievable sorrow and grieving; and all of a sudden, they saw some movements in my legs. Soon I was taken to the ICU for treatment and became well after a few days.”
Learning from mother’s struggle
Bina’s mother was born in Kathmandu in a well-to-do family. Her life took a drastic turn when at a young age, she fell in love with a man from Ramechhap (a village far away from Kathmandu) and got married, and moved to the village with her husband. Her days of hardship and struggle started immediately, as life in the village was quite different from the city, which she had never imagined. The family also had difficulty providing for seven children with moderate means. But her mother learned everything necessary to survive. Bina Didi learned to work hard and learn everything from her mother.
No bridge to cross
Bina’s school was three hours away from her home, and she had to cross a river that had no bridge. She used to go to school only for about six months, as crossing the river during monsoon season was impossible. She used to feel sad for missing school, but she utilized her time by working on the farm and got busy in creative activities like writing poems. Her poem won first prize in a school competition.
She also had to undergo other difficulties, as oftentimes her name used to be removed from school for being absent for a long time. She had to beg and plead and pay fines to let her continue. After facing numerous obstacles, yet determined to get an education, she passed the SLC (10th grade) examination at 14.
Staying Firm and Undeterred
Bina seems to be a firm believer in not getting bogged down by what someone would say about her. In her school days, she shared an incident about how she reached school on her examination day barefoot, when her sandals were swept away by the river. To make the situation worse, she found out that her dress was inside out. For girls of her age, it must be a very embarrassing moment, but she did not let this affect her and just focused on the examination.
She also shared another somewhat embarrassing incident that is relatable to young girls. She told the audience that one boy used to write her love letters. But, she knew very well from her mother’s struggles not to get involved in love or marriage before getting a good education and becoming independent. So, she flatly rejected that boy.
Difficult road ahead
After passing the SLC examination, she came to Kathmandu for further studies. After some ups and downs, she found a teaching job with a pay of Rs 1300, and this was the most money she had ever made. She gave her first month’s salary to her mother, making her very proud. She completed her plus 2 level and started college for a Bachelor’s degree. But, she could not afford to continue.
She quit college and started working. She continuously started looking for a meaningful job. She learned about Shakti Samuha Organization, which helps the victims of trafficking by providing them shelter, emotional support, education, skill training, and legal help. She also got an opportunity to meet Charimaya Tamang and Sunita Danuwar, co-founders of the organization. Bina felt great admiration for their work. So, she started thinking of doing something good for the society. But, continuing education was her first and foremost priority.
After a gap of six years, she decided to go back to school and enrolled at Padma Kanya College, where she completed her Masters’s Degree in Sociology. Currently, she is working as a Senior Coordinator at READ Nepal – a nonprofit organization that provides libraries in rural communities.
Always ready to help others.
Bina Didi has done many charitable works with her own hard-earned money. She contributes some portion of her salary on a regular basis to various charities like, women’s welfare, street children welfare, earthquake victims, etc.
She helped a young boy from the street who was suffering from tuberculosis, took him to the hospital, and arranged his treatment. After he recovered, she gave him Rs.5000 to start a small business. He is running a small vegetable shop and making his living.
Life Lessons to Bahinis from a very inspiring song
Bina Didi played an inspiring song to define life, and Bahinis sang along. The song was ” Fulko aakha ma fulai sansara, Kadako aankhama kadai sansara.” She explained how the song teaches us that life becomes how you see it.
Bina Didi shared some Mantras for success
She gave some words of encouragement to Bahinis that what she has been able to achieve, they all can do it too. First and foremost, she stressed how important it is that everyone should get a good education. She then emphasized that to achieve anything, we all have to follow these Mantras:
- Set your goal what you want to achieve
- Find out your strengths and weaknesses
- Seize the opportunity when it presents
- Always think positive
- Don’t get discouraged with setbacks but keep working hard
- Time Management is very crucial
- Discipline is a must in working towards reaching any goal
- Self Evaluation – allows you to correct your course
Bina Didi outlined those steps like a roadmap to success. Her story connected so well with our Bahinis as if she was one of their older sisters telling her story. Bina spoke with such simplicity and clarity that our Bahinis could relate. They understood very well that Bina Didi’s struggles were even more severe than theirs, but she overcame them and became successful. So, our Bahinis also felt like they too could follow her path. Some had a few questions to know more. However, some have already committed themselves to follow Bina Didi’s path; here are a few of them:
Nilam Shahi Bahini asked how she found courage to continue her studies after a long gap?
Bina Didi replied that she had faced many obstacles to get an education, she was determined to finish her studies in any situation. She also got inspiration from writer Jhamak Kumari Ghimire who became successful despite her physical disability.
Bahini Garima Kangdangwa said, ” Hearing Bina Didi’s inspiring story, I feel like I will never stop working and I will also become a successful person like her one day. I think this type of program should be organized frequently in our school.”
Bina Didi’s story was a lesson to educated our Bahinis on the importance of education, discouraging child marriage, and provideding a roadmap for success. We are so grateful to Bina Didi for sharing her amazing story and for inspiring our girls to look beyond adversity and to use education to build a bridge to a better future.
(This post is based on the field report by Usha Poudel and Sirjana Tamang).