The Terai region of Nepal is a province where people of the Tharu tribe have traditionally worked and lived. Because of Therai’s desirable fertility, the Tharu often found themselves and their land under the oppression of other people groups. This oppression was the reason Merina’s father, an agricultural worker, could no longer earn enough to support her. And so, when a six-year-old Merina was brought to ServLife’s children’s home in Kathmandu, she was mourning the loss of her previous life, which she spent mostly with her relatives after her mother died in childbirth. “That first day I cried a lot,” Merina says, “I looked around and I could see the happy faces of the children who lived [in the home]. Some of them even made jokes to get me to smile, but it was too hard for me to laugh, so I just watched them.” Merina refused to eat dinner that night, not wanting to stay in her new home. It upset her that the other children urged her to call the caregivers “mummy”; she missed her own family so much. That night after bedtime she thought long and hard about running away, but was too afraid to leave in the night.
The next morning the children and staff gathered for devotions. Merina looked again at the other children. “I was looking at all the people who were singing, and watching while they praised God,” Merina says, “I began to look again at their happy faces… and the praise and worship touched my heart. I began to know that this place was part of a great plan God had for me.” In the following days Merina warmed to her new “mummies”. Her brothers and sisters at the home continued to love her and care for her, making her feel welcome. Slowly, joy reentered Merina’s heart and she began to become closer to her new family.
Today, Merina is sixteen and studying in the tenth grade. Her teachers and caregivers say she excels in school and loves math and science. She is a big helps at the home, assisting with caring for the other children. Using these skills and experiences, Merina hopes to become a nurse. She feels God has given her a heart to serve others and wants to help women who suffer in childbirth like her mother did. Merina is excited to further her education, saying, “I am happy and proud to have this opportunity to continue my studies, because many children in this world do not have such chances… I suppose that if I was not here [at this home] I would not have this chance to plan for my future.” Out of her sorrow at losing her old life, God brought Merina joy in a new one. Now, she is a hopeful and enthusiastic young woman, ready to make a difference in her community. She says, “I thank God for providing me with such a caring place and for making me so happy. I thank Him from the bottom of my heart.”