Sony Thakuni is a native of Munsiari, a remote frontier town near the Indo-Tibetan border in Kumaon. Overlooking Panchachuli snow peaks in the greater Himalaya and located at an altitude of 2200 mts, Munsiari attracts nature lovers and trekking enthusiasts. The nearest railway station is in Haldwani, at a distance of about 320 km.
Sony moved to Chaukori to pursue her high school studies. Thanks to a scholarship from Himalayan Education Foundation (HEF), she completed her intermediate education (high school) from Himalayan Inter College (HIC) in 2018. She then studied for a B.Sc degree in Almora and is currently learning computer programming.
Let’s learn more about Sony Thakuni and her aspirations and dreams for the future.
Sony, Welcome to Himalayan Vaani! Can you tell us about your family and the place in which you grew up as a child?
I am from the Sarmoli hamlet near Munsyari. It’s an agricultural village and these days, it is becoming a place for homestays for tourists. My father is a farmer and also runs a small groceries shop. My mother too works on the farm and assists my father in the business.
My two sisters completed their college education and my brother is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. So we are all educated now!
What about your own education?
Having completed my intermediate education from HIC in 2018, I moved to Alomra to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Botany and Zoology from Soban Singh Jeena University, Almora. I also completed a certification course in Computer basics.
What are your favorite subjects and areas of interest and why?
It’s Botany. I grew up in a place surrounded by forests and rich vegetation. And at different elevations in the hills, there are different eco systems. So, I wanted to know more about the plants and trees and how they are important for the health of the environment.
What are you doing at present and do you have future plans to pursue higher studies or to acquire professional skills?
I am toying with the idea of becoming a software developer. At present I am learning online how to program using python language. I would also like to get professional training in building and managing websites too.
I believe I can work as a software professional from anywhere, even from a remote location like Munsiari or wherever I settle in life.
What did you like about living in the hill country for school?
What I liked most about my school is its location in the lap of nature, free from noise and other kinds of pollution. I experience a lot of peace of mind there.
Tell me what you like about living in the city?
In the cities, there are more opportunities for professional careers and better amenities for living such as access to good hospitals, schools, industries, and transportation facilities.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy going for a walk in nature with friends. Also I enjoy socializing. And I love to watch television comedy shows.
What is your favorite book? And movies?
The book that inspires me is- Do Epic Shit by Ankur Warikoo. It’s about personal growth and failure, the importance of habits, self awareness and entrepreneurship. And my favorite movies are- Three Idiots and M.S Dhoni.
Do you listen to music? If so, who are your favorite musicians?
Yes, I do listen to music. Halsey, Arjit Singh are my favorite musicians.
Do you travel? If so, where have you been?
Yes, I like traveling very much. But I have not had a chance to visit any place on my own. I like to travel independently to the places I like. The world is full of beautiful places. Someday I want to see them.
What are the challenges faced by the hill communities in your area?
As far as I know, there are mainly two challenges faced by the hill communities.
First, economic challenges: The people living in the hill areas do not have sources of income other than farming or doing manual work.
Second, environmental challenges: In the last 20 years, I have seen a total change in the environment in the hills. Snowfall is not what it used to be. It snows less and less every year. Due to environmental degradation, people are more affected by natural calamities like landslides, floods, cloudbursts, and forest fires every year.
There are also some social issues regarding gender discrimination, caste divisions, ignorance and superstitions. Even in this modern age, parents still support boys in their education over girls.
What is needed in your village that would better the lives of people staying there?
The first important thing that comes to my mind is tourism. If the Government would support tourism, it could be a great source of income for the locals. And local farming and horticulture practices could be enhanced by using new techniques in order to increase productivity. Fisheries could be encouraged in order to generate revenue for the population.
And there should be more employment opportunities for the youth and right guidance.
How would you like to contribute to the betterment of your native village?
I would like to guide the youngsters of my village so that they can enhance their knowledge and skills. Also I want to support the poor children, especially girls who lack resources but are capable of achieving something. I would also like to work with organizations, governmental and non-governmental, to create better education and health facilities.
What is your favorite memory of HIC?
It is when I received the Dadu award. I think it was the best moment of my school days. ( Dadu award is an annual prize given to HIC students who achieve academic excellence. – Ed.)
What advice would you give the current HIC students?
Focus on your studies and do not waste your precious time.
Anything else you want to share?
Yeah, I had a good time in my school. I made lots of friends there and had a chance to learn many new things like camping, painting, and communication skills. I had changed completely by the time I passed my 12th standard.
Very well. How can we learn more about you?
Instagram : sony thakuni
Contact me at:
Phone number :9105527833
We wish Sony Thakuni a great success in her programming career and whatever she chooses to do in life. Good luck!