The feelings I experience during home visits are beyond words.

Tamanna Rai

Didi, Rukmini Foundation

But, here are a few to describe my experience so far with Rukmini Foundation.

My name is Tamanna Rai. It has  been almost a year since I joined the Rukmini Foundation, but it feels like I’ve been here for a really long time. I started as an intern and now I am a part of the staff. We call ourselves Didis, which means elder sister, and it is a very appropriate name because we think of all of the girls like our own younger sisters. Thinking of these girls like our sisters was one of the first things I learned, and it makes me feel responsible for taking care of my sisters. In my first year with the foundation. I have also learned about all of our core values.

I started to learn that everything I do in this work is representing these values of Rukmini. For example, when we go for home visits to meet with the girls and their families, we try to utilize all of these values. Home visits are kind of a special journey where we meet our new friends, the Bahinis (younger sisters – the girls who are in our program). These visits make us closer not just to the girls , but to their parents as well.

After we go for these visits, we all feel more comfortable around each other, like a big family. Home visits are pretty cool – they’re fun, interesting, and they give us energy. Sometimes they can be a bit hard too, but it’s worth it. What really warms my heart is how the parents treat us with kindness and respect. They talk to us about their problems and all, just like we’re all part of the same family.

Dipa and Tamanna visiting a girl and her family

Once we visited homes, we truly understood the distinction between giving to others from what you possess and embracing yourself as you are. During home visits, parents share what they can, like water, fruits from their garden, tea, and it’s more than sufficient, as their giving comes straight from the heart.

After visiting homes, I understand better how tough life can be for the Bahinis. While I feel like I have been easily able to get what I ask for, the Bahinis often face challenges for even the basics. Some have step-parents, some have no parents, and some live with extended family relatives. But, their commitment to education is truly amazing. They inspire me. Sometimes, I feel like what we provide isn’t even enough because even though they look well-dressed at school the same girls have to wear worn-out, dirty clothes at home. During many home visits, we walk around 5-6 km, to places like Ramche and Lamagaun. It can be quite exhausting, but when I think of our Bahinis who cover that distance daily, I’m truly amazed by their strength, and it gives me strength too. I am starting to develop a better understanding of their challenges and I am becoming more knowledgeable on how I can support them.

I am so proud to say that I’m a Didi at the Rukmini Foundation and I have so many strong Bahinis, and I will continue to try to work and live up to the RUKU values for them and their families.

About Tamanna Rai

Tamanna’ s parents migrated to Pharping from a remote rural village of Eastern part of the country, where finding work to make a living was difficult. Even more difficult was ensuring their kids’ schooling. Tamanna is grateful for this move as she had a better chance of getting education, and she completed high school and is now attending Shikharapur Community College in Pharping seeking a Bachelors in Business. Tamanna was a little familiar with Rukmini Foundation’s work in the community, but her interest to come and support the work of the Foundation grew when she participated in a self-defense training organized in the summer of 2022. She joins us as an Intern where she is not only learning more about the foundation's programs, but is also helping younger girls as a Didi (mentor). She is involved in home visits, school visits, and assisting in the overall program activities. She has been attending programs and writing reports about them. She is happy to be a part of the team working while continuing her education in the morning. Outside of work, she likes to visit new places, make new friends, listen to music, read books and learn new things. She feels like a natural mentor and is quite at ease talking to younger girls to find out if they are experiencing any problems. Her personality traits will be a great help our Bahinis to have someone, a younger person, to talk to who understands their problems and also cares to help them through it.
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