Ishwari Rasaily is courageous. Most mothers are when it comes to their children. However it takes plenty of grit and determination to take on the entire family and community and stand up for your child with a disability in a rural setting of a developing country like Nepal. For Ishwari, the mother of three year old Ritika Rasaily, who became visually impaired (blind) from Tilpun VDC in Ramechap it became a daunting task. Ritika was her second child born after a son who is six years old. She had a normal eye sight up to two years after birth. After she turned three she had to be admitted to Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu when she was diagnosed with typhoid after running a very high fever. With no further improvement in her daughter’s condition she was compelled to take Ritika for further examination to International Friendship Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu. In the course of Ritika’s examinations and diagnosis, one day Ishwari realized that her daughter was having problems with her vision as she observed her trying to feel a boiled egg that she was given to eat. Ishwari could not believe what she just saw and refused to accept it at that time. She tried putting other toys and food items in front of Ritika in the hope that she would be able to identify them. Finally it hit her that her daughter was unable to see-an extremely shocking and disheartening experience for her. She felt as if the world had come to a standstill. Anxious for her daughter’s future, she spent days crying.After running around from pillar to post, finally the doctors at Tilganga Eye Hospital and Tribhuvan University’s Teaching Hospital the doctors confirmed that Ritika would not be able to see and there was no medical cure for her. With a heavy heart Ishwari took her back home to Ramechap. She would either placed her on her lap while doing some household chores or carry her whenever she had to go to work in the fields since Ritika started having problems when moving around due to loss of vision. Since Ishwari’s husband Phalay Kami has been working abroad in Malaysia, he wasn’t around to provide any support. She single handedly had to deal with all her problems. Her older child had not been sent to school despite being six years. There were no schools near their home and Ishwari was unable to send him to a school further away from home because of her daughter’s condition.To further add to her woes, Ishwari’s in-laws whom she lived with and the community as well were not at all supportive and discouraged her from getting treatment for a blind child, pointing out that since the doctors had said there was no cure she was wasting time in getting her treated. They went to the extent of accusing her having an affair with someone in the city and planned to stay there with him when she took her daughter for diagnosis to Kathmandu. They even misinformed her husband in Malaysia which caused a drift in the couple’s relationship. Ishwari remembers her mother in law’s biting words with tears in her eyes. “There’s no need to take care, educate or get treatment for a blind child. There are no schools for blind children. All she will have to do is sit on the roadside, sing songs and beg for money” were her harsh words. But nothing deterred Ishwari. She was adamant to find some solution for her daughter’s condition. She took on everyone and stood up for her child considering she was taking up a huge challenge.Not being economically sound was another hindrance. Ishwari had to take the financial help from her relatives. Her uncle who ran a shop in Bhaktapur had heard of BPEF-CHEERS giving training for such children from a Community Based Rehabilitation organization’s Principal Bidhya Raj Bhandari. With help from her mother and uncle Ishwari was eventually able to take her daughter to the organization. After a thorough eye and ear examination at BPEF-CHEERS, the doctors recommended life skills training for her at the Rehabilitation Unit(Enabling Centre). She was admitted to the Centre. For the first three days her activities and capabilities were observed by the teachers at the Rehabilitation Unit. They found that she could not walk properly, sit in a stable manner- was always swinging, did not like socializing with other children, refused to eat food as she was still being breast fed by her mother and also did not like communicating with new people. Ishwari was also given orientation training for three days on how to handle her child. Keeping her age and circumstances in mind a five months training was chalked out for Ritika. To everyone’s surprise and delight Ritika however completed her training in three and a half months. It was decided that she could graduate and join school after undergoing an evaluation both internally and externally. Her external evaluation was done by resource teacher, Pujana Shrestha, Resource Teacher of Sanjiwani Higher Secondary School, Dhulikhel, Kavre. She graduated in June 2017 during the 15th Graduation Ceremony at BPEF-CHEERS. During Ritika’s graduation Ishwari got everyone emotional with the narration of her journey of struggles. She proudly mentioned that she would now be able to educate Ritika like any other normal child and help her have a bright future. Her relentless courage and perseverance is to be lauded. It would have been very difficult under the circumstances that she underwent for any other woman to do it. We need more brave hearts like her to encourage and fight for the education of their daughters especially those with disabilities in a society like Nepal.Ishwaari thanked CHEERS profusely for providing the first stepping stone and platform for her daughter to gain confidence and become independent. With a recommendation letter from the Department of Education, of the Ministry of Education, Nepal Ritika is now admitted in Adarsha Saul Higher Secondary School, Bungamati, Lalitpur. She will join Sanjiwani Higher Secondary School, Dhulikhel, Kavre which runs an integrated education program for blind children after the Dasain Festival.Ritika wants to study further and become a teacher in the future so that she can teach young children. We are sure she will be able to fulfill it. We wish her good luck!