Welcome to Nepal. Here, among a certain pastoral beauty and scenes of women doing hard manual labor with utter grace, we meet acclaimed writer and activist Manjushree Thapa and Suma, her subject. When she agreed to write a story for Girl Rising, she had not yet met the girl we call “The Emancipated.” Suma was handed into bonded labor at age 6 – a practice called “kamlari” – described by Thapa as the “stories that put our society to shame.” A stroke of luck gave Suma a chance to go to school, where she is both thriving and fighting to see other girls freed. Thapa sees her as “shy… and girlish… but opinionated and actually quite strong.” That’s our Suma. One girl with courage is a revolution. Watch the video:

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To learn more about Suma and the NGO that Room to Read helped pay her school fees, introduced her to a mentor and gave her life skills training to build confidence, please go here.