Neten Dorji

Lumang—In the remote hamlet of Lumang in Trashigang, a widow is suffering, living in a small bamboo hut without a proper house.

For the single mother of two daughters and a son, Yeshi Choden’s long-standing dream is to have a safe home for the family. Her makeshift home has two rooms. One serves as a kitchen. The bedroom is barely a room, with rags and old clothes strewn across the mud floor. At least she cooks in electric cookers and has a gas cylinder.

Yeshi Choden, 45, said that in the monsoon season, the rain drips into their room and it is unbearably cold in winter. They have covered the holes with old pieces of cardboard and clothes.

There is a visible risk of fire.

A suitable house is a necessity for the mother and three children. “I built the makeshift hut from saving Nu 150,000 eight years ago,” she said. She worked as a gardener and sweeper for the Royal Education Council. She resigned and returned to the village after the office was relocated to Paro.

After her husband left them, Yeshi’s world turned upside down. With no source of income and the responsibility of raising three children, she found herself battling against the tide of circumstances.

Yeshi could not educate her children well since she had to depend on daily wage. She worked for neighbours and in return she earned around Nu 250 per day. This also happens when there is work in the villages.

“I couldn’t provide a proper education for my two older children. Currently, I am doing my best to educate my younger daughter,”she said. “It’s difficult to borrow money from neighbours because they are hesitant, fearing I might not be able to return the money.”

Her eldest daughter, who completed Class 9, is with her husband, and the second eldest child, who completed class 8, is unemployed, while the youngest is fourth grader. Yeshi said that her youngest child could not concentrate on her studies at home because of the small hut.

“I sent her to boarding school where she can study without disturbances,” she said.

Without a stable source of income or  land ownership, she has no access to credit facilities.

Lumang Gup Sangay Gyeltshen said that there are approximately 175 households in the gewog lacking proper shelters compared to others.

“She is one of the many families living in extreme poverty in the gewog.”

He said that the gewog administration cannot do much as they are primarily focused on development activities.