NCEF Newsletter September 2014: Former NCEF student and current volunteer Sarita Gopali shares her experience on both sides of our organization
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September 2014 Newsletter!
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gyan: n. knowledge acquired by direct perception

2014 Fundraising Meter
Raised: $7,966Goal: $18,000

Student Successes: Sarita Gopali Transitions from NCEF-sponsored Student to Volunteer by Bimina Ranjit

Former NCEF student and current volunteer Sarita Gopali shares her experience on both sides of our organization.

“I used to think we were poor, now I feel like we are so well-off; life is so full now,” says Sarita Gopali about her life transition after her NCEF sponsorship. She found out about the NCEF scholarship program when she was in the ninth grade. At the time, her mother worked as a maid in multiple households to support the family and could not afford her children’s tuition. Though her mother’s employer paid Sarita’s tuition, the award of her NCEF scholarship meant that her mother could use that money to put her sister through school.

Sarita and fellow NCEF volunteer Sudeep Shrestha

“My siblings are self-made now, they have started making their own money,” Sarita boasts, and she’s doing quite well herself. She is now married with two children, one of whom was adopted from her widowed brother-in-law. After completing her high school education she applied for a clerical job and married her husband. She is understandably very happy with her achievements and believes she would have been married even earlier, like many of her cousins, if she hadn’t possessed the means to complete high school.


Sarita’s education wasn’t without its struggles. She recalls with a hint of embarrassment, “My English was so weak so I used some of my tuition to work on it. NCEF paid for my tuition and I was good in Math and Science. I didn’t know the English alphabet until second grade, my base was weak, and I’m still scared of English because I was raised in a village.”


Brought up in the Hetuada area of the Makwanpur district, Sarita moved to Kathmandu with her mother when she was 8-years-old in search of a better life. “I scored 70% in SLC [the School Leaving Certificate exam administered in 10th grade]. My teacher was so happy.” Even the pitch of her voice changes as she recalls her proud accomplishments.


As her education progressed, Sarita was unsure if NCEF would be able to support her tuition for eleventh and twelfth grade. She received the good news that sponsorship would still be available to her and wasted no time; she went straight on to high school.


“I went to Padma Kanya campus and majored in science. Even though I wanted to study arts I was forced by my elders to study science.” The pressure from family and society to study the so-called STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) disciplines still exists in Nepalese society. Proponents assume that any child who scores over average in the SLC is automatically capable of pursuing STEM or Medical degrees. It is unfortunate and stereotypical, but these types of professions are still considered the best of all.


Nowadays, Sarita is giving back to the organization that put her through school. “I started volunteering for NCEF in eleventh grade. I loved volunteering because NCEF helped me to study through to the college level. Without them I would have left school after fifth or sixth grade,” explains Sarita. “My sister and cousins didn’t get farther than fifth grade; it’s a big deal for me to have finished twelfth grade standard school.”


Sarita is determined to give back and provide opportunities to children like her. She says it’s an honor for her to volunteer for NCEF. And her passion for learning hasn’t stopped yet: “I got married and started a job, but I want to study as well. I think I’ve still got it.” Next year, Sarita will start a bachelor’s program in Sociology.

Editor’s Note: From everyone at NCEF we wish Sarita the best of luck in continuing her education and thank her for her service to the organization. Congratulations, Sarita!


In Next Month’s Newsletter

Next month we’ll continue bringing updates from the organization and hear about the funds raised in honor of NCEF Officer and former NCEF President Steven Lustig’s birthday.