I am Raju, 18 years old and originally from Gorkha, I recently finished my 12th-grade exams and am currently preparing to enrol in the Nepal Army. Due to personal reasons, my father and mother's relationship could not remain healthy leading to a divorce. Thereafter, that my mother started to stay at her maternal house, where I was born. According to my mother and grandparents, 15 days after my birth, my father (step-father) offered a marriage proposal to my mother. My step-father at the time was living separately from his first wife whom he shared a son with (who was a year older than me).
I grew up with my three step-siblings (a step-brother, and two step-sisters). Sadly, I was never treated well by my step-father. My half-brother and sisters were adored by my step-father while I could feel some form of mistreatment towards me. I remember being beaten consistently for minor issues. Due to the same behaviour, my mother frequently used to have arguments in her marriage. However the situation remained, my mother always made sure my studies remained unaffected and provided me the constant support and motivation I needed.
We only had little land to grow vegetables which was not adequate for our family’s living. My step-father, therefore, decided to go to Malaysia and Qatar to work. However, there was still no peace at home. I was in grade 7, attending Jyoti School but my stepfather continued to contact my mother through different mediums. Things became a little turbulent when he started forcing my mother, sometimes to the point of verbally threatening her stating how he wanted me to be thrown out of the house. He used to send very nominal expenses for my mother, however for my step-brothers, it used to be a different case.
My relationship with my two sisters was very amicable from the beginning and we happened to share mutual love and care. My father on the other hand, continued to ignore the presence of me and my mother while he used to be at home. Owing to my family environment, I did not like staying at home and decided to run away. I began living with one of my village brothers at Sarlahi. It was then, only after a month, I returned home and after staying for about a week I stole my mother's bangles and ran again. I sold those bangles and went to Kathmandu where I met one of my village brothers. He got me a job at a guest house. After a day of work, the hotel owner handed me to the bus park police officer. The officer then contacted 104 (National Centre for at Risk Children) post which I was sent to Voice of Children (VOC).
My stay at VOC was where I learned the true meaning of living with a family and importance of education. With the help of the social workers at VOC, I was ready to visit my family after 3 months. My sisters and mother were happy to see me but my step-brother was not happy with my presence and shortly left. The social workers provided me with all the help and made frequent discussions with my mother, brother, and step-father through phone contact. Regular follow-up from the social workers and my family's willingness to accept me made my family reintegration possible.
I attended and continued my studies from grade 8 at Gyanjyoti School where VOC offered all the educational support (school fees, uniforms, and school stationaries). Regular help and follow-up sessions from VOC helped me complete my 12th grade. Today, I am in regular contact with my step-father and brother.
I always had a dream to be in the army so I continue to work towards my dreams. I am currently training myself at the Gorkha Army Training centre. The family that I almost lost and the education that I almost quit, are now recovered. I feel like I am at a much better space now mentally and am content with where I stand.