Neten Dorji | Trashigang
It was an accident that would change his already difficult life. Ten months ago while at work, a log dragged Karma Gyeltshen that maimed his right leg. The accident is costing the family of three.
The 29- year-old from Shongphu has to look after a sister who is physically challenged and his widow mother. He couldn’t go to school as he fell severely ill when was seven years and affected his speech. These days Karma can hardly work and has become a burden on his family.
Inside the old traditional house, Karma’s sister, Yongmin, 23, moves around on her knees. She is cooking lunch for the family. Yongmin lost her leg at birth. After knowing that there was some problem with her legs, the mother, Buku took her to the hospital. “She couldn’t be treated and I took her to many Rinpoches in the hope of making her stand on her feet,” said Buku who now has to look after two physically challenged children.
Buku, 63, has been providing all her support, affection and attention that her children need. She has not given up easily. Life has not been easy with two-physically challenged children, she says.
The love of the mother is not lost even with all the challenges. “Despite her disability, she cooks for us. He is doing his best to support us,” she said referring to their work. “Physically my son became a man, but mentally he is still a toddler,” the mother explained.
Her only worry is leaving her daughter home alone when she goes out to work and keep the home fire burning. “Leaving a disabled daughter alone at home worries me. I can take care of my children till I live. But I don’t know what would happen to their life if I die earlier,” said the widow.
Buku works all kinds of odd jobs and sell maize to eke out a living.
To help her daughter move around, Yongmin received a wheelchair recently from the Trashigang hospital. Yongmin is making the best use of the chair and feels she got her legs back. “Since I received the wheelchair, everything has changed for me. Now I can help my mother,” says Yongmin.
However, Yongmin’s movement is restricted beyond her home. The surrounding is not wheelchair friendly. House on slope and lack of user-friendly facilities inside the house make it difficult to use the facility.
Buku and her two disabled children’s life could change. In an effort to help the family, the Community Base Inclusive Development (CBID) team of Trashigang along with Sherubtse College’s Youth Initiative for Personal with Disabilities (PWDs) and Shongphu Gewog administration is coming together to help the family.
CBID district coordinator, Tshering Yangden said that they are planning to build a new house for the family. She said the structure (old house) is in a bad condition and vulnerable to natural disaster. “If we can have enough donations, we are planning to dismantle the old structure and build a new house that is disable-friendly.” She added that because of the lack of user-friendly structures, the wheelchair was hardly used.
The team’s plan is to raise a fund Nu 900,000 to renovate the house and make the surrounding user friendly.
“We have raised Nu 506,824 so far. We are grateful for all contributions we received, but we need more,” said a member adding that other than cash donations, they also received commitment for labor support and construction materials.
Buku said that her family already received enough support from the groups. “It is unbelievable how people got such a great heart. My children’s life will be more comfortable,” she said.