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TENPA'S STORY


Tenpa T.K., BODHI's India Field representative and hospital administrator in the Tibetan settlement of Mundgod in South India, identifies the needs of the Tibetan exile community:


I was born into the dominant family of kharyakpa to their eldest son, the late Kunsang Ngodup, and his wife, Kunsang Chozom Kharyakpa of Jeker Village, a small village to the south of the famous Thoding Monastery and southwest of Mt. Kailash, in the western Tibet province of Ngawi, in the year 1958 on 15th December as their second child. I have an elder sister and we lost my younger brother due to dehydration during our escape to India.

After the great exodus of Tibetans along with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1959, my parents sought asylum in India in 1962. As soon as we reached Simla my parents got me admitted into the residential school, while they themselves worked on the roads as road builders for a living.

Unfortunately after two years I was attacked by polio and hospitalized for nearly two-and-one-half years, after which I was able to walk, but with a limp. In this condition I rejoined my old school to continue my studies; but it was only for a few years after which along with my parents I moved to Karnataka State in South India where we were settled as farmers. Here in the south once again I had to spend a few years in hospital, after which I joined St. John's High School in Bangalore to complete my schooling.

After my pharmacy education I worked as pharmacist both in the government as well as in private firms and from there moved to work as a sales representative for an electrical company. After this I took up the line of catering and hotel management at Ladakh just to fulfill my dream of seeing the second Tibet. After some years I joined the Delek Hospital for a very short period, then resigned to go and visit my grandparents and other relatives and my fatherland, Tibet. After my return from Tibet, I ventured into private enterprise, but I was more inclined to improving in the academic line; thus I joined New Delhi's Institute of Journalism to obtain a diploma in journalism. After this once again I joined the Tibetan government's Department of Health. With a certificate in Management of Public Health and Hospital Administration, I was entrusted the work of bringing back to life the almost abandoned Phende Hospital at Hunsur, where I was able to convert that hospital into a working hospital for almost three years, even without a resident doctor. There I was Health Coordinator, but with the responsibility of public health coordination as well as that of hospital administration.

In April, 1993, I was transferred to Mundgod's D.T.R. Hospital. D.T.R. Hospital is the oldest and biggest hospital for Tibetans managed by the Tibetan Government. In my capacity as Health Coordinator, I am also Executive Secretary of the hospital's managing board. Finally, I have just joined BODHI as part-time India Field Representative.

Ever since the day I remember that I can do any serious thinking, I have wanted to be of some help to my people, especially those who are poor, sick and ignorant. I was made aware of the importance of one's health by my parents lamenting about my own poor health. They used to say that now it is very difficult for our family to progress because we have only a sick and deformed son. Instead of depressing me, strangely enough this remark has made me determined to compete and work like any healthy child. I for one have never thought of myself as sick or handicapped. I tried my best not to give any extra trouble to my parents. Maybe because of my exposure to various cultures, my broad outlook towards life has always helped me to adapt or cope with any new untoward situations arising every now and then.

MY PEOPLE'S HEALTH NEEDS

Tenpa T.K., BODHI's India Field representative and hospital administrator in the Tibetan settlement of Mundgod in South India, identifies the needs of the Tibetan exile community:

  • There is an urgent need to change the public attitude from a mere dormant receiver of health facilities to an active retriever of health facilities, where they themselves should come forward demanding health facilities and extending their fullhearted cooperation to all those who are trying to promote public health. Individuals must accept responsibility for safeguarding their own community's health and the environment around them to promote their own health.

  • The various settlement officers should place greater importance on promoting health, public hygiene and sanitation.

  • The monasteries must allot a specific time for health education. The abbots and the disciplinarians must check the misuse of public roads, open gutters and open spaces around their respective monasteries to prevent them from being converted into open toilets and garbage dumps.

  • Finally, to implement and realize the above points, the tool of health education must be given priority by the Department of Health through practical assistance by providing enough funds and encouragement. I have faith that BODHI will help to achieve something in this field with its generous help and sound inspiration.
  • With reassured hope and anticipation, I look forward to a fruitful future for all of us. Tashi Delek!

       




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