16th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Deepa the Fearless Leader

“I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO GET THERE, BUT I KNEW I COULD. AS A CHILD, I BELIEVED I COULD DO ANYTHING.” Deepa is 33 years old and lives in a small village in Nepal. She unwillingly got married at the age of 14. Nearly 20 years later, she is a strong leader in her community. She runs her own tailoring business and has taught tailoring to 60 women. 10 of them have now opened up their own businesses. “I endured a lot of struggle because I was married during childhood. I didn’t want to get married at that age. I was very upset and distressed. I felt like a prisoner because I was forced to stay home. I used to go to school but I had to leave my studies when I got married. In traditional Nepali culture, after your married, no one sends their daughter-in-law to school. I would wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning, make tea, pick up vegetables from the fields, bring them to the city, come back home, and make food for the entire family. These were my regular duties. Before VIN (Volunteer Initiative of Nepal), I had lots of dreams, but I didn’t have a way to make them happen. Farming was not my dream. I don’t like farming. I always thought about business, to do something new, become an independent woman. As child, I believed I could do anything. I didn’t knew how to get there, but I knew I could. That’s when 30-40 women including myself received tailor training from VIN. Life began to change. I became a teacher because I never want anyone to feel the same pain. That’s why decided to teach tailoring to other women.”

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 01.2018
Date Uploaded: 10.2018
Photo Location: Jitpurphedi, Nepal
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Copyright: © Drea Castro