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FRONTLINE / WORLD; Nepal: A Girl's Life


Nepal: A Girl’s Story Clean and texted versions

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Nepal: A Girl's Life
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"Once upon a time there was a girl whose name was Sabina Timilsina..."

So begins "A Girl's Life" in the sing-song broken English of a 9-year-old who lives in a village outside Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. It's the voice of a girl narrating her own life. A girl with a mother, a father and a brother. A girl who rises at dawn, brushes her teeth, and goes to school. A girl who likes to play volleyball and badminton, but most of all loves to read.

You can tell right away she's playful and smart, but her story seems rather ordinary -- until you realize that her family is of the lowest caste, the Dalits, or "untouchables," who typically earn their living breaking rocks. In a country where 70 percent of the women are illiterate, Sabina is an exception, an extraordinarily lucky girl who has a scholarship that will take her through high school.

Sabina's benefactor is an American named John Wood, who started a literacy program called Room to Read, the subject of this week's Rough Cut by FRONTLINE/World's Senior Associate Producer Sachi Cunningham.

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Chicago: “FRONTLINE / WORLD; Nepal: A Girl's Life,” 06/07/2007, GBH Archives, accessed June 18, 2024,
MLA: “FRONTLINE / WORLD; Nepal: A Girl's Life.” 06/07/2007. GBH Archives. Web. June 18, 2024. <>.
APA: FRONTLINE / WORLD; Nepal: A Girl's Life. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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