In a quiet and leafy cul-de-sac of a side street in Bag Bazar, five generations of women live together and continue to inspire each other every day.
Chandra Kumari Joshi is 103 years old and learned to read and write at a time when educating girls was regarded as unnecessary. Her daughter-in-law Angur Baba Joshi is a prominent social activist and as the founder of Padma Kanya College, a pioneer in higher education for women.
Her grand daughter-in-law Rupa Joshi is Head of Communications at UNICEF Nepal, and her great grand-daughter Priya Joshi was a wildlife researcher who gave it up to teach women to make things through her Maker Keti initiative. The family recently welcomed a new member, Priya’s 3-week-old daughter, Kaabya Siddhi Bajracharya.
All the high-achieving, independent women in this multi-generational clan credit the education they received and family support as the reason they succeeded.
“Women need to be educated because they are the ones who run the world,” explains Chandra Kumari, whose father Badaguruju Bishwa Raj Pandey made sure all his nine daughters received the same education as his only son.
Chandra Kumari was 15 when she gave birth to her son in 1930, the year she became a widow. When the time came for her to find a bride for her eleven-year-old son, she welcomed nine-year-old Angur Baba into the family.
“I promised her father I would bring her up as my own daughter,” remembers Chandra Kumari, still sprightly and sharp despite her years.