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Profiles from Nepal: Suntali Tamang

Suntali is the second child of six girls in her family. She was 12 years old when she left her family’s rural home to move to the urban capital of Kathmandu. Her work at a carpet factory has been a major source of income for her large family.

She focused her attention on her purpose: to earn money to support her family. She earned money only when a carpet was completed and it was very little. Even so, almost everything she made went to her family. That hard work helped her sisters go to school and later helped pay for their weddings. But she tried to make her parents proud by working hard.

In the early days it was difficult. She had never been to school and spoke a local dialect rather than Nepali. Being so young the city was a busy place where every day she was forced to adapt to something new.

Most Nepali women get married at a young age, usually before 20 years old. Spending so much time earning money for her family for so many years, she paid little attention to having a family of her own. However, Nepali culture and her family put a lot of pressure on getting married, and at 26 years old she finally did.

Suntali is a daughter with five sisters, and she and her husband had three girls themselves. There is a lot of pressure on families to have boys, but for Suntali, she says “I will educate my girls so well that they will not be less than any boys.” But her bigger concern is not having enough money to send her girls to school. Her husband is a plumber but has been out of work for the past nine months. This puts a lot of pressure on Suntali to earn enough for all three of their girls.

Suntali is a migrant worker in Nepal, having to take difficult steps for the sake of her family. So many living in poverty have no choice but to leave their homes to earn a living. As a result they miss out on an education while pushing opportunity one generation further.


Aythos seeks to foster health and sustainable livelihoods in Himalayan communities. By sharing stories of those that we come across, we hope to inspire others to want to make a difference in people’s lives. We encourage your comments on these issues and your encouragement for the subjects of these stories. Please donate to make sure we can make a difference in their communities.

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