Meet the SHAs: Nima Choden Tamang

Our School Health Activists are at the core of our work. They are community members who are driven by a desire to learn, teach, and help. They have spent years bringing health education to their students, helping families navigate the health system, and keeping their communities safe.

To get to know them a bit better, Broadleaf is proud to present our "Meet the SHAs" interview series. The following interview was conducted with Nima Choden Tamang, an SHA that has worked with Broadleaf for the last 9 years.

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Nima Choden Tamang and I am 32 years old. I live in a small village called Padeng with my husband, son and mother in law. I completed my primary and middle school from St. Xavier’s School which is in Pakyong, Sikkim and graduated in Humanity from Bijanbari Degree College. I love learning and making new dishes.

Where did you grow up? What was your community like and what are the biggest changes that you’ve seen in your community since you were a kid?

I grew up in a village named Sang which is located in East Sikkim. I lived with my grandparents, uncles and aunty since i was 3 months old, as both of my parents were working and both of their workplace was far away from our house. When I was a kid the majority of people were engaged in farming and rearing domestic animals for living. As my village is located in a rural area, my village was not much developed and lacked facilities like transportation, bank, market and education. But now I can see so much has changed in terms of development and economy. Nowadays people do not depend upon livestock and agriculture but hold a good government and private jobs.

What brought you to work with Broadleaf?

When I joined Broadleaf, I was new to the village and recently married. Me and my husband were very young and unemployed. Thus, to financially support my family I joined Broadleaf.

What was the biggest surprise that you’ve had since working with Broadleaf?

To be honest, everything that I learned after attending training on early intervention and CHHIP lessons for the first time came to me as a surprise, as it was my first job and I was curious and interested to learn and discover new things.
What stories do you have from working with children in CHHIP?

There are countless stories but I would like to share one incident which took place a few years back. During one of my CHHIP classes I found out one of the students was absent therefore I asked if anyone knew why she was absent, so one of the students told her thigh was burned due to which she was unable to come to school. Later after the class I visited her house and found out the child spilled the hot tea on her thigh due to which her thigh was badly burned, seeing her condition we took her to the nearby clinic and later she was
referred to Darjeeling district hospital. She was under medication for a few weeks and slowly and gradually her scars faded away.

What are you most proud of from the work you’ve done with CHHIP?

When I first joined Broadleaf, I had no knowledge about what I had to do as a School Health Activist but as I attended training and gained experience, I started enjoying my job and was passionate towards my work. Recently I was at a ration shop and I met parents of Bal Sai Academy and they told me their children taught them to wash their hands, listening to them made me feel proud and happy because my hard work paid off.

What is your greatest achievement?

Greatest achievement for me is that I have created my own identity in my village, as before joining Broadleaf everyone knew me through my husband or my in-laws but now everyone knows me by the work I do and as a CHHIP School Health Activist, which is a utmost achievement for me. Therefore, whatever I am or I have become is all because of Broadleaf.

What was a challenge that you’ve encountered working within your community as a SHA?

As a SHA we come across many challenges but with the help of team and training we attend, we try to overcome those challenges for instance, last year during iron supplementation week one of the parents from Sahara Academy made a complaint to the school authority about her child falling sick due to iron tables which was given by me. As soon as I heard I was scared in the beginning but then I remained calm and inquired about the child’s health and what she had consumed on that day so later on I found out she fell ill not because of the iron table but because of consuming stale food. I informed the child’s parents about the harmful effect of eating leftover and stale food.


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