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Patience & Fortitude
Raised in Kathmandu by a single mother, Samjhana Pokharel followed her dreams through sheer perseverance and learning. She was married at 16 years of age while she was doing her Intermediate studies. By the time she was 18, she was already mother of two children. She later continued with her education and also started working as a teacher with Ananda Bhumi School which was opened by her husband.
Today, she is the Principal of the school as well as a preschool called Ujjwal Tara. She has also attained a Masters degree in Philosophy. Samjhana Pokharel is the rare breed of people who set their mind to a goal and achieve it at whatever pace time and circumstances allow. She is also actively engaged with the Rotary and is President of Jagaran Nepal. Excerpts of a conversation with WOW…
How did you get into teaching?
My husband opened a school named Ananda Bhumi Boarding High School when I was doing my I.Sc. I had never considered getting into the teaching profession simply because I was unsure if it was my calling. I just thought I would help my husband in his work but as time passed I began to really enjoy the time spent with my students. It became my passion. Now it’s been more than two decades and I am still loving it.
Teaching is a profession requiring immense dedication and knowledge. You must not just know your subject but be also capable of working for the all round development of a child. You need to be patient and caring as well.
My mother is my biggest inspiration. Being separated from her husband, she raised us alone yet without making us feel the absence of a father. She is 75 now but still very active, motivating, caring and calm. Without having any formal education she raised us to be independent and self reliant. She is also a very positive human being.
What has your life journey been like?
I got married at a very early age but was fortunate to have a supporting husband and family. If I look back from this stage in life I feel like I’ve established myself and achieved something which was very difficult for many Nepali women to achieve. This all happened because of a good academic education.
Is it difficult for a woman to pursue a career?
It is equally difficult for men and women to make a career. But in a country like ours, women face many cultural and social taboos. If there is a supporting family behind a woman, it is easier. Things have changed in the recent context where men and women have equal opportunities due to the globalised view we share.
Besides work, what engages you?
I spend most of my time in social work besides the school through Dillibazar Rotary Club and Jagaran Nepal. Through Rotary, we focus our efforts on health, sanitation, economic development and assisting community schools. Through Jagaran Nepal we focus on women in politics and women empowerment with special attention to bringing marginalised women into mainstream politics.