Sahara Pradhan

I am a Master's student from Nepal. Some of my earliest inspiration came from my mother's work. Almost twenty years ago, sitting with a group of women in our tiny living room, she committed to creating a better life for Utsahi Mahila: mothers, daughters, sisters in our community, by establishing a Kalyan Kendra (Welfare Center for Energetic Women). Drawing from her own learnings (at 14, she was already running a household of eight), she began teaching women how to earn and how to save to support their children. These women had the hope that their children could get the education they never had. I inherited my commitment to education from them, and I carry and bring their hopes, alongside mine, to CIE.


During my undergraduate degree at Vassar College I had the opportunity to engage with education in a variety of contexts, including the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP), a non-profit organization that supports Haitian artists, educates volunteers in practices of global citizenship and promotes sustainable development in Haiti. As director of VHP's Education Initiative, I gained experience in working with the challenges of communication, fundraising, representation and accountability across cultural, economic and power differentials.


I have also worked on curriculum development projects. Most recently, through a Davis Projects for Peace grant, I created a Professional Development and Leadership curriculum as coursework for a multidisciplinary methods class, and implemented it in Kathmandu. Working closely with the youth, the urgent need to re-think formal and informal educational opportunities was reinforced for me, as I learned about magnitude of the ways in which young people experience the consequences of severe inadequacies in educational systems. I also spent a year in Costa Rica on a language fellowship, where I had the opportunity to work in an ESL classroom at a technical high school in Heredia.


At CIE, I hope to build on my undergraduate work in hermeneutical and post-colonial theory to guide my thinking on the needs of formal and non-formal education, especially in the context of South Asia, and to explore alternative imaginations of how they can be met. In conversation with global educational practices, I am interested in other diverse, meaningful ways of knowing, living and being that may not always be recognized by the dominant discourse of development.


I am also interested in exploring indigenous practices, and how their multiple pedagogies, teachings, transferences and inheritances might contribute to creating alternative educational programs. In the next two years at CIE, I hope to engage in attentive inquiry about creating and implementing educational projects, connecting them meaningfully to the languages and lives present inside classrooms and other spaces of learning.




Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
On-Campus Student