Living in faith


Several green and pale white cans of water stacked neatly in a row on one side at the entrance. Next to it, framed pictures of Dalai Lama and Buddhist deities placed on a chair along with a small alarm clock. Piles of blankets and clothes make a semi circle cushion wall to lean back, a rug used as a sitting space for guests. Further ahead, a single mattress for sleeping and in front is a withered wooden chog-tse (low carved painted table) that becomes a makeshift dining area in the day and night time. Another long wooden table alongside the mattress and several memories and souvenirs of lifetime piled on top of each other. Adjacent to a pole in the center, a wooden desk with drawers serves as a kitchen area. This is not a Ladakhi house but Tsering Dolma\’s tent where she is living for past two months.

Her house totally collapsed in August flash floods. Tsering and her daughter Norzim Palmo escaped barefoot with only one blanket and spent five days in Spituk Monastery, Leh. Later on her neighbour Phuntsog Youdol gave her space in her compound and someone arranged a tent for her to live there.

Tsering is forty years old and lives with her thirteen-year-old daughter Norzim Palmo in Skara Yokma, Leh. She got separated from her husband fourteen years ago while she was pregnant with a child. Since then, she has been working as a casual labour and making the ends meet. She earns around Rs. 3000 a month and gets Rs. 250 per month from her tenant, that barely helps her to sustain a decent living.

Tsering originally hails from Beyama village, Kargil. When she was seven, she told her father that she wants to study but her father did not approve of it. Attending school for a girl was unheard of in the village at that time. Having been a single mother and gone through many struggles, her major concern is to provide education to her daughter so that she does meet the same fate.

A month before the flash floods, she also had an operation and has still not recovered. Tsering hopes renewed when SEEDS-LEDeG team decided to build a shelter for her. Tsering will be getting a compensation of two-lakh rupees from the government for her damaged house. She can secure that money for her daughter\’s future now. A god-fearing lady, Tsering feels that she has done some good deeds in the past to receive such help. For past one month, Tsering is fully involved in helping workers at her construction site.

A new beginning, a new home and joyful dreams for her daughter\’s future, now Tsering Dolma has a lot to look forward to . . .