Nisha Singh: Improving access to education for girls and young women in Nepal
Posted: 10 February 2022
Australia Awards alum Nisha Singh belongs to a traditionally marginalised community called ‘Madhesi’. She was born and brought up in Rajbiraj, a town located in the Saptari district of Nepal. She was one of the few lucky girls to have educational opportunities as educating girls and women is not always a high priority for most parents from her community. Since a young age, as a woman from such a community, Nisha dreamed of making a difference which propelled her into the pursuit of higher education despite facing many challenges.
With hard work and determination, Nisha completed her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Kathmandu. She says, “If provided with an opportunity, women can do something substantial for their family and society.” After completing her bachelor’s degree, Nisha began teaching in various schools, including the reputed Budhanilkantha Higher Secondary School (BNHSS), where she was the first woman to teach from the ‘Madhesi’ community.
BNHSS offered Nisha a permanent job with a great working environment, lucrative salary, and a fulfilling lifestyle. However, Nisha felt she had more to offer, and to give back to her community, which led her to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship to gain the required knowledge and skills to pursue her aspirations.
Nisha received an Australia Awards Scholarship in 2017 to study Master of Education at Flinders University. Talking about her experience she says simply, “I have discovered myself.” The opportunity to interact with people from around the world, exchanging experience and knowledge, deepened her understanding of the education sector.
“The Scholarship not only provided me with the academic knowledge but also instilled a great deal of confidence in me. If I had just three words to describe my Australia Awards experience, I would say empowering, fulfilling, and life-changing,” she adds.
After returning from Australia, Nisha joined Aasaman Nepal (AN), a non-governmental organisation that works mainly in education with a particular focus on the ‘Madhesi’ community. For Nisha, AN provides the ideal environment to pursue her career goals. “My involvement in Aasaman Nepal as an employee has provided me with a good platform to reach out to girls and women in the grass-roots area.”
As a Knowledge Management Coordinator, she designs projects that serve children’s educational needs. One innovative activity that Nisha proudly worked on is the “Each One, Teach Five” campaign. She and her team mobilised volunteers, especially senior students, teachers, and older brothers and sisters of students, to individually teach five children on COVID-19 safety measures and engage them through alternative learning opportunities. Launched in five municipalities of the Dhanusa district, the campaign supported more than ten thousand children. Proud about her work at AN, Nisha says, “I am now giving something back to my community, especially to girl students and children who need greater support – something I always wished for in my childhood. It has motivated me to keep going with my career goal.”
Nisha strongly encourages people, especially women from traditionally marginalised groups like herself, to apply for the Australia Awards Scholarship and grow as future leaders to address Nepal’s developmental challenges. With Australia Awards, Nisha feels, she benefited from many opportunities to express herself and develop a network with educational institutions, experts, and diplomatic institutions in Australia and Nepal, which became instrumental in building her confidence and motivation. “So, based on the support and opportunities to grow and lead, I strongly recommend aspiring and eligible future leaders to apply for an Australian Awards Scholarship”, says Nisha.
Applications for Australia Awards Scholarships are currently open. Learn more on how to apply.