In Sindhupalchok’s Jugal Rural Municipality, Deputy Chair Srijana Tamang has been single-mindedly working on improving education. As a child, she remembers walking for hours from home to school and back. In winter night fell quickly on her way home, and during the monsoon she would be covered from head to toe in leeches.
When she was elected five years ago, one of the first things Tamang and Chair Hom Narayan Shrestha worked on was to appoint new teachers and upgrade school buildings, some of them destroyed in the earthquake.
Having worked as a social worker in the past, Tamang recognised the priority areas for her rural municipality, and her background and familiarity with the people helped her not only gain an edge during the elections but prepared her to deal with the problems of her community.
“When I was elected, I really wanted to prioritise roads and education, but the pandemic meant we had to address more urgent issues,” adds Tamang, who offered RT PCR testing and monitored the spread of the disease, turning a local school into an isolation centre. With Omicron, Tamang believes the people are more aware, and better prepared.
“The pandemic was the first big challenge for me as a local representative,” says Tamang. “But knowing that we are working for our people and our families, there is always a greater sense of responsibility.”
In 2020, while Tamang was away on official business, a massive landslide at Lidi killed 39. She travelled overnight to help with the rescue and relief effort and got support to rehabilitate those made homeless. She got geologists to prepare a disaster risk map of her municipality to prevent future disasters, and prepare for them.