I was enrolled in the English-language Master’s programme in Hydro Science and Engineering at the Technische Universität Dresden from 2007 to 2009. I wrote my thesis on innovative wastewater treatment and conducted a student project on climate change adaptation focusing on my country of Nepal. My time in Dresden went by in a blink, but I had time to get to know the German culture and the friendliness of the German people. Dresden means a lot to me because while I was there I was blessed with an angel – my daughter Shareen.
For 18 months after my return to Nepal, I knocked on office doors literally begging for work. I needed a new job as my previous project had been phased out. I lived with friends and promised myself not to lose heart. I became frustrated, however, and considered leaving my country there didn’t seem to be room for me. But I did not lose hope. Ultimately, I came across the Returning Experts Programme from the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM).
Officially, I should have applied before returning to Nepal. Fortunately, thanks to the Nepal CIM programme coordinator my application was approved. I now had a chance to exhibit my strengths, knowledge and skills that I had gained in Germany. Soon after, I received several opportunities to elaborate on my potential through presentations and research papers. I realised just how much potential I had and how my scope had broadened. I then got the opportunity to work for the Nepal Development Research Institute (NDRI) as a research associate. Within a year I was promoted to programme officer. I began with technical proposal development and succeeded in securing big funding for the organisation. My thanks go to the DAAD and TU Dresden for helping me become a capable and competent professional.
I have been working as Assistant Country Director for the Nepal Country Office of the Welthungerhilfe (WHH) for one year now. My work focuses on food security, water, health and sanitation, disaster risk reduction, agriculture and community development. I feel proud when I see the changes – from technical advancements and the use of irrigation, for example, to farmers who produce quality agri-products and are better equipped to respond to the threats of natural disaster.
Not only did the postgraduate course in Germany help me secure a good job and apply my knowledge back home – it also kept me going the tough times after my return. Leaving home creates a gap – it’s a reality. If we stay strong and hold on to our dreams, we can achieve so much you just need patience.