Dechen Dolkar 

Bhutan’s first conjoined twins, Nima Jamyang Palden and Dawa Sangay Palden, study in Class 1 at Sonamgang Primary School in Phuentsholing.

They will turn seven on July 14. They are growing up healthy. 

Their mother, Bumchu Zangmo, said that they have experience no complications since returning from Australia, where they were separated. “Both of them can eat well and play,” she said. 

She also said that while Nima was healthier before, now both are equally healthy and weigh the same.


However, the mother said that when one catches a cold, the other catches it automatically.

When they perform physically demanding activities like jumping, they vomit badly. When one vomits, the other also starts vomiting after a few hours.

Nima and Dawa are in the same class but sit at different tables.

The mother said that last year, they were in different sections of class PP. She said, “This year, I requested the teachers to keep them in the same section because whenever there are meetings and other activities, I cannot attend them.”

The twins’ teachers say Dawa performs better in Dzongkha while Nima performs better in English. However, both perform equally well in IT subjects. “Overall, their academic performance is good,” a teacher said.

Nima and Dawa actively participate in health and physical education classes, but avoid physically demanding activities.

Nima and Dawa mingle well with their friends. “They bring their friends to our house, and they go to their friends’ houses to play,” said the mother.

A teacher said it is sometimes difficult to tell Nima and Dawa apart.

The mother said Nima writes with her left hand and Dawa with her right. Whenever they go out, they wear the same dress.

The principal of their school, Tshewang, said that they are given special care in the school and classroom. He said they are well-behaved.

Nima and Dawa are Bhutan’s first conjoined twins. They were born on July 13, 2017, at Phuentsholing General Hospital. The identical twins were joined at the lower chest, just above the pelvis, and shared a liver.

The twins were referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne, Australia, for surgery. The Children First Foundation (CFF) of Melbourne financed all the costs. 

They left for Australia on October 1, 2018, and were separated after a six-hour surgery on November 9, 2018. After the surgery, they were kept under observation for a few months until the family could return home on March 7, 2019.

Sonamgang Primary School has six other identical twins.