Dechen Dolkar

On February 11, 22-year-old Kinley Lhendup, Ugyen Academy’s talented footballer, exhibited remarkable courage by diving into Punatsangchhu to save a 17-year-old girl who was in distress.

Kinley Lhendup and his friends were heading to Kaja Throm in Phunakha in the afternoon when noticed a bunch of people gathered, all staring at the river. 

“When I saw the crowd, I thought maybe they were filming a movie,” he said. 

Suddenly, one of his friends yelled his name and shouted that a girl was drowning in the river. He urged Kinley Lhendup for a help.

“I did not hesitate for a moment. I just jumped into the river to rescue the girl,” Kinley said. “Before I realised, I was already in the middle of the river, right beside the girl.”

He quickly pulled the girl towards him and to the riverbank.

After getting her out of the river, he pressed on her stomach because she had swallowed a lot of water.

When Kinley Lhendup saw the girl, she had drifted about 100 metres from where she jumped into the river.” “She told me that she wanted to end her own life.”

Kinley Lhendup injured his leg and had to go to hospital after saving the girl’s life.

The police said that the 17-year-old girl, who had dropped out of a school in Punakha, was taken to the police station.

The girl told the police that she felt forced to take such extreme measures because her parents wouldn’t allow her to continue her education. She also said that her family was going through serious financial difficulties.

Later, the girl was taken under the care of Respect, Educate, Nature, and Empower Women (RENEW), where she stayed for over a week, receiving shelter and psychological support. 

With the help of the police and RENEW, she was enrolled in a school in Punakha and is now attending 8th grade. 

RENEW is still offering support, providing both the girl and her mother with psycho-social assistance and reintegration services.