My name is Tukmaya. I am 35 years old. I have 2 brothers and 1 sister. My parents are completely illiterate and I, too, never went to school. I come from a village called Guwari Finna (4-5 hours away from KTM). You must take a 3 hour bus and then walk 2 hours to the village from the bus station.
When I was a child I worked in my home helping with general duties. I went into the mountains and carried wood back to my home. When I was 15 years old my family arranged for me to be married. I was scared at this time and refused but my family started to tell me if you decline this marriage offer it means you will have bad luck so I decided I should get married otherwise I will have bad luck. When I was 18 I had my first baby girl. I now have 5 children, 3 years apart.
In the earthquake I lost everything. I did not receive much help from the government during this time. My husband earns very little in his work doing labor and it is hard to manage our household expenses. We have not been able to afford to rebuild our house so we have made a small shelter where we have been staying since the earthquake. We have no running water in our home so I get the water from the centre and walk it to my home. It takes me 1 hour.
In my old job I was working long, hard hours in agriculture. I would work for more than 12 hours a day. Now working for Local WOmen’s Handicrafts, it is the first time I have worked in a different environment that feels safe and like someone is caring about my wellbeing. I can be creative and rest my body. One of the greatest things is that I have a community of women here where I can feel so powerful every day.
My dream is to have a safe place for my family to live and for my children to be educated so they can have a life with more opportunity than I had. I lost my creativity when I was very young and I don’t want my children to lose theirs too.
If I could tell the women of this world one thing I would tell them to come forward and raise their voices so they can have equal opportunity.