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Suma Tharu Brings Down the House

In just a few years, the 16-year-old student has triumphed over her past as an indentured servant to sing on the Lincoln Center stage.

In her second summit performance, Suma Tharu, a 16-year-old student who escaped indentured servitude in Nepal, sang a clear, triumphant and haunting melody before a crowded Lincoln Center theater. “I’m singing for me and thousands of other girls still in land or house, struggling for their life,” she told ABC’s Juju Chang with the help of a translater. “I’m singing for them, too.”

Since being rescued and enrolled in school for the first time just four years ago, Tharu is now studying at a 10th-grade level, thanks to the help of the organizations Room to Read and 10x10. When asked what she hopes to do with her life, she said proudly: “I want to fight for the rights of women.”

Watch her memorable performance here.