“A Better Life than the One I Had Before”
In some rural Nepalese communities, women are still mistreated when they give birth to a girl rather than a boy. Thuli Maya (34), from Kavre, endured a similar injustice when she gave birth to a girl. Her husband and in-laws began mistreating her following the birth of her daughter. Her husband married another woman, completely ignoring her and the daughter. As a result, her mental health was severely affected. She chose to move out with her daughter to live with her parents, but even they were unwelcoming and treated her as if she were a burden. The trauma and rejection that Thuli Maya had to endure led to a decline in her mental health. As she began showing signs of distress, the family abandoned her, leaving her nowhere to go.
Thuli Maya’s aunt accepted both Thuli Maya and the baby into her home after learning about her situation and sought help for her. She heard KOSHISH’s PSA on the radio while looking for psychosocial support and contacted them. The KOSHISH team visited Thuli Maya at her aunt’s home the next day and decided to take Thuli Maya to the emergency care center for intensive psychosocial support after realizing the severity of her mental health condition.
At the emergency care center, Thuli Maya was initially reluctant to discuss the abuse and neglect she had suffered at her in-laws’ hands. She was, however, provided with a safe space and treated with kindness, respect, and dignity, eventually allowing her to build trust with the KOSHISH staff and vent her feelings, which helped her relieve her burdens. Thuli Maya’s mental and physical health improved due to care, a nutritious diet, and various therapeutic activities, including counseling. After observing a significant improvement in Thuli Maya’s mental and physical health, the KOSHISH team decided that Thuli Maya was ready to be reintegrated into the community. Her loving aunt, who had also looked after her daughter during Thuli Maya’s stay in the emergency care center, welcomed her and took her in.
A recent home visit by the KOSHISH team found that Thuli Maya has recovered from her mental health condition and has now started to be self-reliant. She has begun goat farming and earning money, allowing her to support her daily life. In her free time, she likes to play with her daughter. “I have gone through different stages in my life, from hatred to abuse to violence. But after getting support from my aunt and KOSHISH, I feel like I can have a better life than the one I had before. The only thing is that I have to work hard and live my life happily,” Thuli Maya expressed. Her story demonstrates how a safe environment, nurturing care, and compassionate support can help someone overcome mental health problems. ■