Here is Doma’s answer to: “Community – educational, geographic, religious, political, ethnic, or other – can define an individual’s experience and influence her journey. How has your community, as you identify it, shaped your perspective? (250 word limit)”
My mother is from a low-caste family in Nepal’s hill country. Like other village girls she had no schooling, spoke only her tribal language and had an arranged marriage when she was fifteen. I was born the same year. My father brought her to Kathmandu where she had to learn Nepali. He abused and soon left her; then she raised me alone. Because she had no education, the only job she could get was as a hotel maid.
But my mother is intelligent, she learns quickly, she thinks clearly and she is strong and confident. If something must be done, she finds a way to get it done. She has made great sacrifices so I can make a better future.
The obstacles for a low-caste girl like me are outweighed by my advantages. Because my mother always worked hard, so do I, and although she could not help me with school work, by listening to her, I learned to think.
At first I did not believe my future would be different from hers because that was the only life I had seen, but she put me in a good school and I began to see other possibilities. Later, at Budhanilkantha School in a community of well-educated, wealthy students, I realized there is actually no limit to what I can do.
I have grown up Buddhist so I must live ethically. What I inherited and learned from my mother means I can live that way.