When Dhan Kumar Sunwar, 31, was declared National council-elect from Tsirang, beating 11 contestants on April 20, his parents broke down with happiness.

“For them, I won and for me, the public of Tsirang won by electing me as their representative,” the NC member said.

But for the 31 year old, the journey to school and to the Parliament has not been easy.

When he got admission in pre-primary at Tsirangtoed Primary School in 1996, he became the first from his family to attend school.

It required him to walk for more than an hour to school from his home in Kabelshing village.

More than himself, his parents (farmers) were visionary about his education and future.

Dhan Kumar said that in the past, his parents struggled to make ends meet because what they sowed in the farm was lost to wild animals.

Bamboo products helped the family survive. Even today his parents weave bamboo products such as nanglo (flat grain-sifter) and dalo (basket).

He said his parent’s products helped most people of Tsirang during paddy harvest in the past.

“I know best what it means to live at the lowest level in a village and that will motivate me to work hard for the people of Tsirang,” the NC member said. “People’s love and support is my greatest confidence.”

Every voter in Tsirang knew that Dhan Kumar was a candidate contesting the election from one of the most humble families.

After the election, the talk among the people of Tsirang was that a strong financial background is not always important to win an election. “In fact, we need more people like him in politics and the Parliament,” a voter, Pemba, said.

Born and brought up in Tsirang, he studied commerce in Damphu Higher Secondary School after his primary in Tsirangtoed. He completed his education in 2013 with a bachelor of Business Studies (finance) from Gedu College. He was a student councilor in college.

As a member of National Council, he said he would prioritise reviewing the policies and programmes of the government.

Dhan Kumar is a member of the legislative and foreign relations committees.

He said the committees have not yet set specific targets. Before that it’s time for his first constituency visit.

“I’ve not had time to meet the people and thank them. It’s the people of Tsirang who have given me enormous love and support,” he said.

In the village, he had always wanted his parents to have a decent home, which could not be possible until he completed studying.

His family received support from Tarayana Foundation to construct a house in 2013, the year he graduated from college.

Tarayana supported with the construction material.

“Tarayana’s project in Tsirang has immensely helped needy ones in various sectors like constructing homes, education for students, water connections, distributions of saplings and seeds in the villages,” he said. “Our family was one of the beneficiaries.”

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang