This is the true story about our friend Maya, but it can be applied to many Nepalese women:
When Maya's mom was 9 years old she was forced to marry a 29 year old man and when she was 12 she gave birth to Maya.
In total they were 6 sisters and 3 brothers, but one sister died when she was 5.
When Maya grew up they were so poor that they couldn't afford shoes, not even during the cold winter.
Their friends got new clothes, but Maya's parents only had enough money to buy food. Maya was of course jealous of her friends, but there was nothing she could do about it.
Maya's highest wish in the whole world was to study, but after 5:th grade she had to leave school to earn money.
She carried heavy things, about 50 kg, on her back, up the hills, for 20 km or more, for less than a dollar, still without shoes and the employer didn't even give her something to eat.
Her family arranged her marriage with a man who abused her for many years. He didn't work, but expected her to walk the streets begging, selling small bags.
They got two daughters, the man left her for another woman and Maya walked the streets for 15 years, humiliating herself asking tourists for money.
She had credit everywhere. Rent, school fees and the grocery shop, living one day at the time, paying off the debts whenever it was possible.
Maya and her daughters live together with a sister and a brother, in total five persons, in a small room where they do everything from studying and sleeping, to washing clothes and cooking.
I met Maya the first time I set my foot in Nepal and since then I've dreamt of giving her a job. Every time I met her I gave her some money. For a special festival I gave her some extra and when someone in her family needed to go to the doctor I helped her.
She has always been the one her family has been depending on financially. Her mom gives blessing for change in the small village and her father does odd construction work, but they mainly live on the small land they own. Maya's grandparents had much more land, but they lost it playing cards.
The earthquake has been horrible and a terrible loss for so many people, but some good things have come out of it.
Friends in Canada arranged two concerts and from the money they raised we were able to do something extraordinary.
One day I sat down with Maya and asked what she wanted to do with her life and her dream was to have her own grocery shop and a few weeks ago we were able to realize her dream.
It was one of the most emotional days in my life. Helping a person, a whole family really, with such a life changing long lasting thing is just amazing.
I knew Maya was a true business woman. She is getting up at 4 in the morning, going to the vegetable market and from there she is busy the whole day. She is a really hardworking woman and I'm so proud of her.
She was definitely the right person to help like this.