Some of you may know this story, and if you do, I ask you to indulge me and be patient as I retell it for others.
During my first summer of law school in 2007, I worked abroad in Nepal on a human rights project. While there, I met this strong but bold and personable young woman, who worked as the custodian and cook at our offices. She almost always had a big grin on her face, and a joke to say in the best English she could manage. But sometimes she wasn't smiling. This was usually when I would notice a bruise, a cut, a black eye, a bandage. After getting to know Maya (whose name means "love"!), she opened up to me and told me that her husband beat her. He smacked her, punched her, cut her with knives, broke her bones. He beat up on this tiny woman, and I could see that she was struggling not to let him break her spirit.
Maya only stayed with her husband because her husband paid for their son's schooling. Maya had a very meager salary and could not afford even the cost of Daniel's books by herself, so she stayed and suffered through the abuse, because she adores her son.
At one point while I was there, I told Maya that if she would let me help her with Daniel's schooling, I would help her get out of her husband's home. It took a lot of courage on her part, but we managed to get all her things and her son out of her husband's home one day, and we took Maya to her mother's home. She now lives with her mother and has flourished. She is not rich, but she is healthy and safe, and has been for the past six years. She is so grateful that she constantly says how much she loves me. How much she loves me and "the Committee." See, Maya would never have taken money from me personally, so I had to tell her there was a scholarship committee from whom I could request funds for Daniel.
In the first few years, while he was in a boarding school for the grammar school grades, the cost of Daniel's education was quite a bit less. However, in the last few years, Daniel has moved to the higher grades, and now he is in 10th grade. This is the last year of lower secondary education, and the cost of his education has gone up (it is roughly $2100 this year, including tuition, books, uniform, and boarding school & food). In fact, he could obtain his school leaving certification this year. He's doing great in school, especially math and science. And it's a great deal -- 11/12 of the year of food, shelter and education, but it is more than almost any Nepales people can afford. Maya cannot afford the tuition, but is desperate to keep him in school, because he is doing so well--he's learning English, and lives math. (If he doesn't stay in the boarding school, his dad will take him back). And I want more than anything to keep him in school, because in Nepal, life can be miserable for those, like Maya, without an education.
Hence this post. On behalf of Maya and Daniel, I would greatly appreciate any donations towards Daniel's education that you can manage -- whether $10, $20, $50 or $100. You won't get any publicity or a thank you -- other than Maya's heartfelt "thank you" to the "Committee." But I'll always be grateful, and I know Maya and Daniel will too. If you're able/willing, please send a contribution, either through this website or a check to me at 1400 Spring Garden Street, Apt. 1403, Philadelphia PA 19130, and reference "Daniel's Fund" in the Memo line.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for any help you can manage,
*Namaste is a Nepalese/Indian form of greeting. Roughly, it means "I greet your soul." I love it.
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