Nepal: A Girl's Life

Making room to read

While trekking in Nepal in 1998, American John Wood saw that many children couldn't afford to go to school and that schools in the poorest rural areas had a chronic shortage of books. For Wood it was a transformational experience that spurred him to start a literacy program called Room to Read. This Rough Cut tells the story of Wood's nonprofit that now helps to educate millions of children in the developing world and visits some of the Nepalese children and communities his program has helped. read more

"Once upon a time there was a girl whose name was Sabina Timilsina..."
So begins "A Girl's Life" in the sing-song broken English of a 9-year-old who lives in a village outside Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. It's the voice of a girl narrating her own life. A girl with a mother, a father and a brother. A girl who rises at dawn, brushes her teeth, and goes to school. A girl who likes to play volleyball and badminton, but most of all loves to read.

You can tell right away she's playful and smart, but her story seems rather ordinary -- until you realize that her family is of the lowest caste, the Dalits, or "untouchables," who typically earn their living breaking rocks. In a country where 70 percent of the women are illiterate, Sabina is an exception, an extraordinarily lucky girl who has a scholarship that...

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