The Oda Project

Essential healthcare and education - giving Nepali communities in extreme poverty a fighting chance


Today’s blog post is about one of my favorite people here at Kopila.  While I’ve been here I have been blessed to meet some amazing children that have battled through lots of adversity in order to get to where they are today.  One of those kids is a beautiful 13 year old girl named Laxmi, who I’ve become very close with over the past 8 months. From the get go I knew she was someone that needed a friend, and someone to lean on.   She is so special in so many ways; however, unfortunately she was picked up late by Kopila and is only in the third grade.  As a result of this, she does not have too many friends in her class and his separated by the children her age most of the time.  She’ll frequently come up to me and explain how I’m her best friend, and that she doesn’t have very many friends in her class.  This is both heartbreaking and humbling.  We’ve developed quite a friendship, walking to the temple together, working on English and math, going out to lunch occasionally, and simply spending a few moments here and there together.  Until recently, I’ve loved Laxmi, but I haven’t know too much about her life outside of Kopila.  That changed abruptly when I took the time to walk home with her and Pabitra a couple of weeks ago.  During this trip, I learned how much she deals with outside of school, she has no father, her mother is mentally handicapped, and her brother is away for work most of the time (he is a long haul driver).  Additionally, her brother’s wife passed away recently leaving behind an infant child.  These realities have left Laxmi as the 13 year old head of the household.  She takes care of her mother and her niece while her brother is away, which is most of the time.  While visiting the Sunar house I saw the single room where the 4 family members, eat, sleep, and live.  Despite these nearly impossible circumstances Laxmi still comes to school most days with a huge smile on her face.  Recently she’s been coming to the hostel to meet me in the morning, and we’ve been walking to school together.  Just like when I wrote about Sunita, it is stories like this and the strength of my relationships with many of the other children that has solidified my resolve and my desire to continue working in this country and in this field.  While I’m not sure exactly what this will look like yet, my priorities have certainly shifted, and my desire to help Laxmi, and others in her shoes has never been stronger.
Pabitra, me, and Laxmi @ Laxmi's house

Pooja, Me, and Laxmi @ The Temple