At only the age of 6, she was sold by her parents to another family, where she was forced to work as their servant for 6 years. These families that girls like Suma are usually sold to, work in far away homes with rich families, while their families get a annual payment for them throughout the year. These girls are provided little to no emotional, physical, or mental support and when it comes to being respected that expectation is slim to none. Although the cast system of Kamlaris was deemed illegal in 2006, 20,000-25,000 girls from the five Tharu districts of Western Nepal are still trapped as Kamlaris. (See 1st article below)
I decided to choose Suma Tharu from the pick of 150 Fearless Women because she embodies everything I see in a leader. As well, she reminds me of myself as a young leader just starting to make my mark on this world. Although young, she is still taking the world by storm with the use of her voice and her story. A friend once told me “Remember nothing can come against the word of your testimony, love over fear.” Suma is sharing her story so that one day that story can help others. She is sharing her story so that one day she can heal from it and become a leader in this global fight against the oppression of women. Through writing songs Suma is able to express where she came from and where she is going.
Love over fear, I love that specific statement because even when people tried to break down Suma she still rises above. At the age of 16, she was accepted into Room to Read Girls Education Program. A program in which she entered directly into the 7th grade and now at the age of 19 will be finishing secondary school in 2014. After being oppressed for six years starting at the age of 6, the fact that Suma can rise above is a beautiful thing.
Accessibility to education as an individual growing up in an impoverished village/home isn’t easy to obtain, especially if you are girl. Suma Tharu is a change agent because she is taking what she has been through and effectively implementing change so that it doesn’t happen to others. By sharing her story through song she is giving a voice to individuals who don’t have that option. This is the first step Suma is taking, and surly because Suma is a persistent, strong willed, fighter for whats right, this will not be her last step. She wants to better the lives of women and girls who have been deemed Kamlaris in Nepal. They too can become empowered and educated in the future. Suma is also featured in the film Girl Rising! A film addressing the importance of educating girls around the world.
Sing for freedom..Sing for healing…Sing.
Share your story.
Let that be the first step.