A Nepali mother of two, Parwati Sunar finds herself attending the same school as her son after returning to an education system she fled at the age of 15, when she eloped with a man seven years her senior.
"I enjoy learning and am proud to attend with classmates who are like my own children," Sunar told Reuters from her village of Punarbas on the southwestern edge of the Himalayan nation, where she studies in seventh grade.
Just about 57% of women are literate in the country of 29 million, and the 27-year-old Sunar said she hoped to become "literate enough" to be able to keep household accounts.
"I think I should not have left my school," she said, explaining the desire to catch up on the lessons she missed, having had her first child at 16.
"She is doing a good job," said one of her neighbours, Shruti Sunar, who is in the school's 10th grade, though not a relative. "I think others should follow her and go to school."
Enrolment of girls in basic education, or grades 1 to 8, is 94.4%, official data shows, but Krishna Thapa, president of the Federation of Community Schools, said nearly half dropped out for reasons ranging from lack of text-books to poverty.
"This is the thinking now," she added. "What lies ahead, I don’t know."
(Picture Editing: Gabrielle Fonseca Johnson; Additional Reporting: Navesh Chitrakar and Yubaraj Sharma; Text Editing: Clarence Fernandez; Layout: Kezia Levitas)