I was born in Phayang Skiltang, Ladhak 23 years ago. My father is a farmer growing wheat and potatoes. Farming in Ladak is difficult because of the poor soil quality and the cold and uncertain climate. My mother is a primary school teacher. She also cares for my grandparents. My two brothers are students, one in Ladhak and one in Simla.
I have been very fortunate in my life. Thanks to the Tibetan Children’s Home and my Chenrezig Fund sponsor, I have been able to get a good education. When I was 12 years old, my uncle brought me to the Tibetan Children’s Home. He knew about the Home since he had been friends with Mr. Gompo Tsering, the Director at that time. Since my parents were unable to pay for my schooling, Mr. Gompo was sympathetic and found me some sponsors to pay for my schooling. My sponsors were Mr. Norman Sheppard and Dr. Janice Sheppard. Their generous contributions to the Home paid for almost my entire schooling. Without their help, I never would have been able to get an education and my future would have been difficult. I owe my life to their kindness.
I studied hard in school, although I only received average scores. However, I passed Class X and Class XII national examinations on my first attempt. Computers and political science were my favorite courses. I love computers and have my own laptop in my room. In my last year at the Home, I became Hostel Captain for the boys and tried my best to help the younger students in many ways. I very much enjoyed all the sports I could play at the Tibetan Children’s Home and I played a lot with other students and in competitions.
I completed Grade XII in 2008 and planned to study in New Delhi to become a computer software engineer. However, when I travelled to Delhi, I found that it was very expensive. And I missed being at the Home. So I returned Clement Town to study computer engineering for three years and to help with the Tibetan Children’s Home. I felt a certain responsibility to the Home since it had helped me so much for over ten years. Now I help the staff in many things and am very happy and am glad to be able to repay their kindheartedness in this way.Mr. Sonam Chophel and Mr. Tsegyal are wonderful managers for a place like the Tibetan Children’s Home. I really like their way of thinking and acting: always very frank but very kind and friendly at the same time. I like them both very much. Everything they do is done to help all the children and staff. From Mr. Sonam Chophel I have learned many things about the best way to respond to students and other staff. And I am so very grateful that they have given me the opportunity to take further studies.
My name is Yeshi Dolkar. I was born in Bhutan in 1990. My family was originally from U-Tsang Province in Tibet. When the Chinese army invaded Tibet, my grandparents escaped to Bhutan and my family has lived there since then. My parents were only 12 years old when our family settled in Bhutan. When they grew older, they met and married and gave birth to me, my brother and my sister. My mother still lives in Bhutan but my father died suddenly just four months ago. I miss him very much. He was so loving and kind and always encouraged me and trusted my decisions.
In 1998, my aunt, Tsering Choedon, and her husband, Gompo Tsering, invited my sister and me to join the Tibetan Children’s Home (TCH) near Dehra Dun, India. They had opened this Home to give Tibetan students a place where they could live while studying at the nearby Tibetan Nehru Memorial Foundation School. They also gave the students help with their school work so they could get good marks in school.
Gompo Tsering said that he would find us sponsors since our parents were unable to pay the fees for staying at TCH. My sponsor was Miss Peggy Ahlgren from Wisconsin, USA. Although I do not know her very much, I shall never forget her kindness that made my education at TCH possible.
Since the schools for Tibetans in Bhutan were not very good, my sister and I decided to study at TCH. That was the best decision I ever made. My nine years at TCH was wonderful. In fact, I feel TCH and my school taught me everything I ever learned. I saw how important it is to discover the reasons for doing what we do and saying what we say. I realized how important it is to communicate with all kinds of people, for you never know what you might learn from them or how they might help you some day. I learned I needed to practice, practice, practice to learn something well. I also made an effort to learn such things as sports and debate and other activities that did not involved school work. Some people say that I have a hunger for knowledge and I guess that is true.
I graduated in 2007 from the Tibetan Nehru Memorial Foundation School. I had earned the highest grades in the entire school. At first, I thought I would apply to a B.A. program for further studies. However, my mother pointed out that a B.A. program is quite long and may not lead to a good job for a foreigner living in Bhutan. She suggested that I think about going to school for a nursing diploma. Her idea seemed very good to me since the program is only 3 ½ years long and it would be much easier for me to get a job that pays well. Also, nursing sick patients is a kind, loving occupation.
In 2007 I started my nursing diploma program at Kailash Institute in Noida, UP, India. I am in the General Nursing and Midwifery program and will graduate in March 2011. Since with a diploma I can only work on a contract basis in Bhutan, I plan to start to work and at the same time continue my education and earn a BA in nursing so I can be hired in a permanent position and work as a staff nurse, a specialist and even a lecturer. I will then be more able to serve our rural community in Bhutan and tend to the needs of the poor who now must travel quite far to receive any health care.This is my story. How the kindness and compassion of my parents, my teachers and my sponsors have given this a young Tibetan refugee the opportunity to receive an excellent education and be able to serve others in her life. I shall never forget the precious gift of education that I have gratefully received from my parents, Gompo Tsering and Tsering Choedon, Peggy Ahlgren and the many others who have made me what I am today.
My name is Kalsang Choden. For the past three years I have been an air hostess with Kingfisher Airlines. This is a very good job for young women in India; it pays well, offers many opportunities for advancement, often gives me a chance to stay in five-star hotels and enables me to visit many parts of the world that I would not otherwise see. When I was young I would never have thought I could have such a wonderful job that I love so much.
In 1993, when I was only 8 years old, Gompo Tsering, former Director of the Tibetan Children’s Home (TCH), found out about my situation and invited me to enroll in the newly established TCH. Not only that, he was able to find very kind sponsors who paid for all my fees while I was at TCH. Whatever I am today, I owe it all to the kindness of Gompo Tsering and his wife, Madam Tsering Choedon, and my sponsors, Mr. Bill and Mrs. Dorothy Whitcomb.
I went to the Tibetan Nehru Memorial Foundation School that was quite near TCH. I started there in third grade. The TCH staff helped me with my school work and taught me about Tibetan culture and values. Most importantly, their positive attitude boosted my confidence and provided me with valuable guidance in all areas of my life. To this day, I look to them for advice on important matters.
I feel blessed and very fortunate to have the Whitcomb family as my sponsors. They have provided me with support, encouragement and very practical advice ever since I started at TCH. Even now, they continue to encourage and support me. We have developed a very loving relationship over the years and it feels to me as if they are the parents I never had when I was young. Not only do we keep writing each other frequently, we meet each other in person when they travel to India. I am always so excited and happy whenever I can spend time with them. Their support and encouragement have helped me make a good life for myself. I am so grateful to them for all they have done.
I believe that we all have the ability to make our dreams come true. All we need is a good education, basic financial support, adult guidance and hard work on our side. I will always remember the TCH staff and above all my most kind sponsors, the Whitcomb Family, for giving me the opportunity to make my dreams come true.Thank you all again and again.
A helping hand is far better than the praying lips.
This saying seems so true to me. When the rest of the world was just sympathizing with me and my family’s misfortune, then only the Tibetan Children’s Home (TCH) came forward. It provided me with that helping hand and lifted me from the pit of woes.
I’m talking about that inauspicious month of November 1992, when my so-called happy world was shattered by the news of the elopement of my mother. I was ten years old then and needed a place to stay as my father had to work out of the town to feed me and my sibling. My father couldn’t afford to admit me in a boarding school and no neighbors were willing to keep me.
Then we heard about the scheme of TCH for helping poor children in need like me. So my uncle approached the then director of TCH, Mr. Gompo Tsering, and he was very kind to take me into TCH. Since then I enjoyed the sponsorship provided to me and my stay at TCH. Like every other child, I received proper education, proper accommodations, and the best care from the staff.
I’m 19 years old now and recently completed my schooling with a score of 63.21. I have a keen interest in continuing my studies but for that I needed quite a handsome amount and not everywhere schools and colleges are considerate towards poor people.
Praise to the Almighty that once again TCH responded to my S.O.S. and came to my help in the form of the Piya Dolma Scholarship. I consider myself lucky and honored to be the first student at TCH to get the Scholarship. I wholeheartedly thank each and every staff at TCH and the Board Members of the Chenrezig Fund for awarding me this scholarship.I hope and pray that I’ll be of some assistance to TCH after my college education as a tribute. My best wishes to the children in TCH and my heartiest appreciation to the sponsors who are equally to be praised for making the children’s future bright.