Kusum Chaudhary, 15, prepares diner for her family, in her house in Bankatta, Lumbini region, Nepal. « There’s a lot of stuff that has happened to me that I don’t like to talk about. My dad died when I was seven, and my mum couldn’t afford to raise me, so a couple of years later, she sent me to live with a family in a town 30km away so that I could work as a maid. I had to do all the housework and look after the children, but sometimes I’d accidentally make mistakes and they’d beat me so hard that I’d cry. I was there for four years – until I was 13 – and whenever my mum called me, I’d try to pretend I was OK. But one day they hurt me so much that I broke and cried down the phone, so she came to bring me home again. I’m proud of myself because when I came home, I managed to find some work building houses in the village, which paid more money, so my mum didn’t need to send me away again. But I didn’t tell any of my friends what had happened. And thinking about going back there still makes me feel sick with fear.
Life is harder here for girls. When my dad died, I wasn’t allowed to attend the funeral because I was a girl. I don’t think that’s fair. I should have been there. He was my dad, and I miss him every day. Life would be so much easier if he was still around. » (1/3)
Words gathered by @corinneredfern
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