Durga Bista smiles
VSO/Suraj Shakya

Meet Durga: A Big Sister with a huge impact

When Durga Bista was 18, she dropped out of school to get married and dedicate her time to household chores. Now, she volunteers as a ‘Big Sister’, supporting vulnerable girls in her home community of Ranighat to attend and stay in school. She has four ‘Little Sisters’, including Nirmala.

“When I first met Nirmala, I found that she belongs to the Dalit [untouchable caste] community, and a family where father and mother struggled for their daily life and basic meals.

An older woman and a teenage girl sit outside on the ground in Nepal, studying
VSO/Suraj Shakya
Durga Bista, 37, volunteers as a ‘Big Sister’ in Surkhet, Nepal. She's a coach and mentor, supporting four vulnerable girls, including Nirmala, in her home community of Ranighat to attend and stay in school.

"Nirmala used to be absent from school for five to seven days in a month. Her school performance was very low. She never asked follow-up questions or participate in school activities. At first, she would never share anything with me. She used to run away.”

Durga has been working with Nirmala and her family to make sure that she gets to school, and has enough time to study when she is at home.

“When I go to Nirmala’s house, I first check her homework, then I talk with her mum to make sure she is giving Nirmala enough time at home to study. I also check whether she has any problems with her schoolwork.

I tell her parents that, because Nirmala is improving her grades every year, she needs more time for her study. Nirmala is doing well, but she still needs some more growth and to work hard. I love her because she listens to me. Because of my lessons, because I’ve inspired her. She is such a good girl.”

This project has really helped all the girls from this community to get quality education.
Durga Bista, a 'Big Sister' on the Sisters for Sisters project

Taking her work home

The project has also had an impact on Durga’s own approach to parenting.

“I have changed in my attitude and behaviour within my family. I have one son and one daughter to whom I do not discriminate in terms of giving them education. I think they’re equal and they need to get equal opportunity.

As a Big Sister, I would like to thank VSO, Global Action Nepal, and people of the UK for supporting the girls in this community. This project has really helped all the girls from this community to get quality education.”

Find out more about our work in:

Two young girls and a young boy sit and read from their textbooks in a busy classroom
VSO/Omar Havana


We've worked in Nepal since 1964, building healthy communities, strengthening inclusive education systems, and developing community resilience.

Girl in a classroom in Nepal | VSO
©VSO/Willemijn van Kol

Sisters for Sisters' Education

The Sisters for Sisters’ Education project has been getting some of Nepal's most vulnerable girls into education.