1. How long have you been a fellow at Teach For Nepal? How did you hear about it?
I have been with Teach for Nepal for a year. I heard about it from social media.
2. Did you always want to get into the teaching field?
As a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. However, my interests and choices changed. I am still exploring.
3. You received a degree from the US, what made you want to go back to Nepal and work?
There’s so much to this question. When I decided to come back, I just wanted to see if I can survive in Nepal. Since I know how amazing the US is with regards to facilities, infrastructure and organization, I would love to live in a similar country. But I came back to do Teach for Nepal, partly to help my country and partly to see if I can really do something here.
4. What has been the most challenging thing about teaching?
I would say understanding the needs of the students is very challenging. We have students whose needs were ignored by teachers and parents. Now we have to be the motivation and source to help them get back what they never had.
5. What has been the most satisfying thing about teaching?
I think just the fact that by teaching I am serving the future of this country is satisfying.
6. What kind of policies do you think Nepal needs in order for women to have more access to education?
Nepal does have good policies and the problem is with implementation and monitoring.Also, rather than access there are problems of retention and awareness. But small tweaks here and there that ensure quality education are possible. For example, early marriage resulting in dropouts is a big problem among adolescent girls. In addition to the current laws in place to combat that, sex education, awareness of body positivity and building self confidence could be integrated in the middle and high school curriculum (grade 6-12).
7. What do you plan to do after your fellowship ends?
I want to get a Master’s degree in Public Policy focusing on gender and/or education. I don’t have a fixed plan but I hope to be in the public service and development sector and I want to continue writing.
8. What social issues do you feel most passionate about and why?
Gender is something that has always bugged me. I have been a victim of gender stereotyping and discrimination. I wish the world was better for our girls, especially girls and women in Nepal.
9. Who are your role models?
Actually, whoever stands for the right things is my role model. Malala is my role model. At the same time, Ravi and team at Code for Nepal and Mona Aditya at Teach for Nepal are also my influences.
10. What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a similar career?
My advice to women is to pursue whichever career they want. We can do anything we want, really. Look around you and find inspiration and follow any path. If you have interest in public service, it is a good idea to expose yourself to the government entities, NGOs, businesses etc as volunteers or interns while you are in school to get a good understanding of their roles, system, and issues. And try not to miss out any opportunity to do so. (I learnt this the hard way!)
11. Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
I love singing. I have sung on stage a couple of times.
12. Best piece of advice you have received.
I haven’t found the best one yet. An adage I strongly believe in is: You are 90% successful if you just show up. I think for newbies, if there is a learning opportunity, you just have to grab it.
Follow Richa on her blog: Miss Frowns
*Please help me interview me more awesome Nepali women. Who would you like to see?