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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Tibetan Story: Lobsang Dolma

This is the story of an inspirational Tibetan girl named Lobsang Dolma, now living in Leh, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, Indian Himalaya. Lobsang has just completed an International Baccalaureate Diploma (2 years) in England fully funded by a registered charity called Pestalozzi International Village. This organization sponsors around 50 selected students from 10 nations including Tibet.
She graduated in June 2014 with a score of 32 from IB total 45. She has taken language test IELTS and scored 7 out of 9. 

I have known Lobsang Dolma's family for 15 years. Her father Ang Chuk came to India when he was three years old, carried over the Himalayan passes by his parents while fleeing the Chinese invasion of Tibet. He has driven for our treks in Ladakh, rescued us on numerous occasions, and been an integral part of our Kamzang Journeys & Project Himalaya team. With very little money coming in from driving a truck, then a small jeep and now a 4WD jeep he has supported sending all of his 5 children to school. 

Lobsang is now unsure if she will be able to continue her schooling as finances are a real concern. She has applied to Westminster University in London to work towards her BSC in Biomedical Science but needs a full scholarship to be able to attend. She is very determined, and I am trying to promote her cause by publishing her story. 

Please let us know if you would like to help sponsor the rest of her education, or - perhaps better - if you have any contacts for scholarships abroad. 

Lobsang Dolma's father Ang Chuk

Lobsang Dolma's story below, all her own words:

"A bomb flew overhead. It was the Chinese chasing away my grandparents with their three toddlers. My father was one of them. Without the tiniest flicker of idea about where to flee, they landed at the northern border of India, Ladakh. My grandpa despite being the protective shield of his family, passed away shortly after being in exile. By then, my grandma had to raise six children on her own. My father had turned ten when he began collecting leftover food on the rocks from the army camps to bring home as their meal every day. Their supposed home was a tent: rugged, torn and without the faintest hope of livelihood. Education was already an impossible opportunity for my father and his siblings.

My mother had similar hardships to that of my father, the only difference being that her father has always been the lifeline until now. My mother is the fifth child of my grandparents. They had ten children. Only the youngest child could get a free education later on.

In exile, Ladakh is both a remote and a poor place. However, my parents, despite being uneducated themselves, dared to dream about their children’s education. They have five children. I am the second youngest among my siblings. I was born on 13th May 1995. My father works both as a labourer and a hired driver. Like my sisters and brothers, my parents sent me for school. For them, the free schooling was a blessing from his holiness. I was always the very persistent and studious girl. I remained as one of the top students throughout my primary schooling.

I had already begun to dream more about education reinventing me. I reached 11 years of age, when I was selected for the best Tibetan school in exile. By then, my parents had realised my capability and therefore wanted me to get into the new school. I was hesitant to be in a boarding school with even fiercer competitions and challenges, but I was excited as well. Although the new school had only Tibetan students, they were from a wide range of financial, social and family backgrounds.

I faced the discrimination of being from a considerably poorer place and background in my initial year. That actually was a blessing in disguise. I was pushed and compelled more to show my own capability. As a result, I began to gain more friends and remained in the top five of my class throughout my secondary schooling. By the time I reached 16, I was clear that I wanted to go further and achieve something for my family and in fact, for the whole Tibetan communities. I was also certain about wanting to work in the medicine field. On the other hand, I knew I would not get a free entry for colleges after my schooling. My parents at the same time did not have any hope of supporting me financially.  

After several months of fearing about the possibility of ending my education, I was elated again. Pestalozzi International Village, a registered charity in England was providing scholarship for five Tibetan students to study International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB Diploma) for two years. Certainly, I slogged hard throughout my preparation to get the scholarship among fifty other Tibetan students. I got the scholarship to study IB Diploma. My two years in England gave me the courage to dig the hardest for my ambition and I really learnt to believe in myself.

During my gap year, I have been volunteering at a government hospital in Ladakh and at a Tibetan children’s centre in Dharamsala.   I really hope to help them and I bear an endless capacity to learn from the people I meet every day. Getting a place at university with a full scholarship is indeed a massive new challenge for me but I see it as the next step of my journey and would really relish the opportunity to continue to live my dream of education."

Lobsang Dolma
Reference from Pestalozzi School available on request.
Grades & reports also available.

Kamzang Journeys

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