Neten Dorji

Kanglung—At Sherubtse College in Kanglung, a small room is abuzz with activity as Tshewang Tenzin organizes his belongings. Despite being visually impaired, Tshewang is a dedicated massage therapist in Kanglung, bringing positive change to the lives of many.

Tshewang grew up in the quiet village of Gomchu in Khaling. At the age of 21, he faced a life-altering challenge when he lost his sight entirely. Reflecting on that difficult time, he says, “I woke up one morning and couldn’t see clearly. I was in the 9th grade, and it affected my ability to continue my studies.”

With his mother, also visually impaired, life became difficult.

However, instead of allowing his disability to dictate his life, Tshewang chose to embark on a journey to redefine his purpose and achieve self-sufficiency. Reflecting on the impact of losing his sight, he says, “Losing my sight felt like the worst thing imaginable. At 21, while most people were focused on studying, I was engulfed in depression.”

Undeterred by obstacles, Tshewang sought opportunities to enhance his skills and contribute to society. He found inspiration in the transformative potential of massage therapy during his training at the Norbu Healing Arts Centre. He dedicated himself to mastering quney therapy, a specialised massage technique.

Armed with his newfound skills, Tshewang set up his massage service in Kanglung, envisioning a sanctuary where individuals could find relief from physical ailments. Despite encountering financial challenges and resource constraints, his sense of purpose remained unwavering.

“I took this step hoping to secure some livelihood assistance from the business,” Tshewang says.

Navigating the world without sight, Tshewang relies on his keen sense of touch and intuitive understanding to alleviate his clients’ discomfort. “I can’t see 100 percent. I do it with my eyes closed half of the time,” he admits humbly. Guided by mental images and empathy, he provides relief with unmatched skill and compassion.

Transitioning from a student to a business owner presented its challenges, especially with muscular degeneration adding to his obstacles. However, Tshewang remained determined.

“Making a living through massage services is challenging. I didn’t stay complacent,” he says.

Through diligent saving and perseverance, he has a plan to expand his enterprise, ensuring access to necessary tools and equipment.

Looking ahead, he aims to grow his business and hire people like himself. “I know the challenges disabled individuals face in society. I want them to be independent too.”

Today, Tshewang is a symbol of resilience. Despite facing adversity, he refused to succumb to it. Beyond his remarkable massage skills, he exemplifies the power of courage in overcoming challenges and persevering through difficult times.

“Although I can do what I do well, what truly distinguishes me is how I overcame losing my sight at 21,” he says.