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The fascinating life of a Nepalese child bride

May 9, 2018

Kharika Devkota was married at the age of 5 years old to a 12 year old boy.  She went to live with her in-laws in a small village in the Himalayan foothills.  Although treated well by her mother-in-law, Kharika’s life was hard and her new husband at times brutal.  She struggled with extreme poverty in a male dominated society.  Daughters were considered worthless, and at times, the treatment of her daughters by her husband, bordered on neglect.  His indifference to Kharika and their daughters was hurtful and hard to understand, however, Kharika was very resilient,  and went on to bear many daughters and sons.

Kharika

Life was very hard for  Nepalese women, ruled by tradition. However this feisty woman went on to become a successful business women in her community.  She was a landowner (uncommon for Nepalese women) and a successful micro-lender.  Her indomitable  spirit shines throughout this book, Five sons and a hundred muri of rice“, the story of her life written by New Zealander’s Sharyn Steel and Zoe Dryden.   A very interesting and insightful read into  Nepalese society and the unbreakable spirit of a remarkable woman.

I could not put this book down, 10/10.  – Pamela

The story behind the book:

Sharyn Steel is a writer/journalist, working currently at Radio New Zealand. Her daughter Zoe Dryden is a leadership coach who came across Kharika Devkota when she was teaching English as a volunteer in Nepal about 10 years ago.

After becoming aware of corruption in aid organisations in Nepal, Zoe set up a volunteer organisation called Face Nepal, with her Nepalese host, Kharika’s youngest child, Shreeram, at the end of her three-month assignment there. Back in New Zealand, she set up a company called Second Base that takes corporate clients to Nepal for a mixture of personal development, aid work and tramping in the Himalayas. Zoe took three or four trips a year there with clients, up until two years ago when she had her daughter.

After returning from one trip, she told Sharyn about Kharika and in 2009, Sharyn went to Nepal for three weeks to interview Kharika, through an interpreter. Since then, they combined forces in writing this book, which was published late last year.  [source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/thereading/collections/readings/five-sons%5D

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