Neten Dorji  | Trashigang

After battling leprosy for years, Tumpo could no longer work in the fields when he turned 30. Given the desperate conditions of his limbs, it was simply impractical.

Today, he is 67. But by his looks, he seems much older, and the people in the community fondly call him, Memey Tumpo.

From Leyphu, Yangnyer in Trashigang, he can barely walk, even with the help of his walking staff.

Life has been tough on him, thinks Memey Tumpo. He is physically disabled and his sibling is deaf and mute.

“It had never been easy to live after my hands and legs became impaired,” he said.

He depends mainly on neighbours, some are distant relatives, living nearby and in the village who provide him with the essentials and firewood for his earthen stove.

But he is all smiles and happy these days because soon he will have a new home to live.

About 45 individuals, including staff of the Yangner gewog, Community base scouts, teachers, students, civil servant, and desuups, volunteered to construct a house for him.

They built the house on weekends and took more than a month to complete the construction.

Memey has distant relatives in the village and nearby. “But they are busy looking after their children. Moreover, their only source of livelihood is their farm,” said Memey Tumpo.

Tumpo receives His Majesty The King’s monthly destitute allowance. He also received stock of essential items as kidu.

The project coordinator and Yangnyer gewog administrative officer, Needup Gyeltshen said that benefactors donated more than Nu 30,000 as cash and other construction materials for the project.

“Together with the contribution from the dzongdag, business community of Trashigang, contractors and shopkeepers, we’re happy that we managed to build a decent house for him,” said Nedup Gyelteshen.

It was the second such house the group built for the needy in the gewog. The first one was for an older woman.

According to Needup Gyeltshen Memey Tumpo was moving from one empty shelter to another.

“After dzongkhag administration agreed to provide CGI sheet and timber, we started to build the house for him.”

The gewog officials, desuups, community base scouts and volunteers committed their weekend times for the past one month and fifteen days to construct the house.

Although members formed the volunteer group to provide immediate help to Memey Tumpo, they decided to continue to help others in the community.

“We have made sure this time, he can have a home before monsoon, and we will also provide him with mattresses, blankets and kitchen items later.”

Memey Tumpo has already started shifting some of his household items to his new house.

“Now, I don’t have to worry about anything. I don’t have to sleep in others house anymore,” said Meme Tumpo.