Manu, with daughters Dikshya and Ikshya, joined HIO’s sponsorship program in 2010. With a firm commitment to her education, Iksyha is now on her way to becoming a doctor!
Sometimes the stars align and the outcome for one of our HIO young women is a burst of bright light. Not as often as we’d hope, but, sometimes. Ikshya, who graduated from 12th grade a year ago, shared some wonderful news today. Her name appeared on the list for a spot in an excellent medical school about fifty miles south of her home in Kathmandu. What an accomplishment!
For weeks we’d been waiting to hear which of our girls might be offered a coveted place in one of Nepal’s few medical colleges. With nearly twenty thousand students taking the difficult and competitive medical exams, it’s a bit like waiting for your lottery ticket to be called. Fewer than three thousand spots were offered. Ikshya’s news is a celebration not only for her and her family, but also for the entire HIO Nepali team and her devoted sponsor, Ellen Weihenmayer.
The five and a half year program’s expense at around $50,000 is prohibitive by Nepali standards. Fortunately for girls like Ikshya who are entering programs in healthcare, the fees are covered by HIO’s Bob and Nettie Isler Fund. This fund was established by former HIO board member, Jack Isler, in honor of his parents, both doctors. Nettie, a Phd psychologist who just turned 98, is so pleased. Jack and his wife, Beth, also sponsor Pooja Lamsal, now in her third year of medical school in Eastern Nepal.
Ikshya (in the blue jacket) lives with her mother and father, Manu and Durga, and her younger sister, Dikshya, who is now completing 12th grade. Her family is one of only a handful of intact HIO families with both a mother and father. The family’s home is a small, 10’ x 12’ brick structure with scant furniture and no plumbing. Typical of the way most of our sponsored families live.
In traditional Nepali culture, sons are preferred and the birth of a daughter is seen as a burden. Parents think, Who will take care of us when we’re old if there's no son? Without a doubt, Ikshya and Dikshya will have the means and compassion to care for their parents as they age.
Manu and Durga are caretakers for a wealthy landowner. They own little and work long days of physical labor. In exchange for their work, the family lives at the back of the landlord’s large inner-city compound, tending his home and gardens and allowed to grow some crops for their own use while embracing their connection to nature. The property is full of exotic trees and plants, a total escape from the constant din of city noises, dust and traffic on the streets nearby. An oasis of sorts. The feeling of peace and tranquility belies the family’s profound poverty.
Manu is supportive and gracious. Durga is kind and gentle. It’s plain to see the love and admiration they have for both of their hardworking girls. Like her parents, Ikshya is calm and soft spoken. She embodies a lovely combination of her parents’ warmth and sincerity with a quiet confidence and a keen sense of purpose inspired by the education she so treasures.
Ikshya will join ranks with her HIO sister, Sashmita, now in her second year of dental school. These two bright, shining stars enjoyed working together during a Reach for the Stars photography workshop facilitated by DeeDee Morriswww.deedeemorris.com/ last fall.
We can never fully foresee the future, but for Ikshya, it certainly appears bright. She readily agrees to one day sponsor another young Nepali girl when she finishes her education and settles into a job. An aspect of HIO’s sustainability that allows those gifted with an education to honor themselves and others with a similar gift.
Ikshya says, I can't explain how happy I am to get the spot (in medical school), and in addition, seeing my parents and your congratulations and love made me even more happy.
Happy indeed we all are, dear Ikshya, as you prove to the world what it means to dream big and work hard to truly discover the stars. You’re an inspiration for us all.
Lovingly - Ricky and Laura