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Published: October 27th 2006
Many of you have asked about making contributions to the girls I'm working with here in Tibet. Here is the good news. Thanks to the ingenius suggestion of Julia Smillie, you can now donate easily and securely through paypal. Just send it to my account (email@example.com) and remember that even $5 goes a long way here. I'm about to buy mittens for all the girls and found some really warm ones for just 11 RMB each. That's just $1.40 for you.
You can still see their adorable faces here.
And if you are interested, I've attached 15 of their histories below. We're still working on gathering the other half.
And now I'll stop the advertisement and go back to non-solicitous news.
About the Girls
1. Mumid Tsomo/Metok Karmo
(age 10) comes from a family of nine people; two are more than 80 years old, five are small children. Her mother had breast cancer and her treatment consumed all of the family’s money. Now her father has stomach cancer, so he cannot work. Mimid Tsomo herself also suffers from chronic bone pain that no doctor has been able to diagnose.
2. Gangri Drolma
(age 12) has more
than 10 siblings and neither her father nor mother work. Her parents have debt they cannot repay, and they are chronically borrowing more money and then spending it. Consequently, those they owe money to have taken their house and all possessions. Her household consists of four families living together, but now all of them are homeless.
3. Phuntsok Wangmo
(age 5) was taken in by her grandmother after her parents divorced; neither parent wanted to care for her. Soon after, her grandmother died and Phuntsok Wangmo went to live with a 20-year old uncle, who has no income.
4. Sherab Drolma
(age 12) comes from a family of six people. They have 10 yaks, but this is not enough to support their living expenses. Her father is mentally ill and suffers from various other medical conditions, so he is unable to work.
5. Tashi Yarphel Kyid
(age 6) lived with her father for a short time after her parents divorced. He remarried to a woman with two children, and at that point no one wanted to continue caring for her. When Tashi was taken into the school, her step-mother was so happy she celebrated with a shopping spree.
6. Jigmed Drolma/Sonam
(age 11) has 10 siblings, six of them are in school. One is a university student, and since her tuition is more that the family’s annual income, they can no longer cover their basic living expenses. Both of Sonam’s parents are quite old and unable to work outside of the home.
7. Tamdrin Wangmo
(new name Tare Drolma) (age 12) comes from a family of seven; four of them are small children. Her father is dead. Before, the family supported themselves with a large herd of cattle, but disease wiped out all but 20 animals, and they now are unable to cover their living expenses. One monk provides assistance to the family and her mother does all of the work to care for their remaining livestock.
8. Jigmed Lhamo/Phagmo Kyid
(age 11) comes from a family with eight children. They have a few yaks, but not enough to cover their expenses. Her mother provides all of the herd’s care, but cannot milk them very effectively because one of her thumbs was cut off in an accident. Her father is unable to work because he is mentally ill and physically debilitated.
9. Sonam Tso
(age 7) lived with her mother, grandmother and five siblings; all five have different fathers. Since everyone in the household except one child is female, the family is vulnerable to men who come and take advantage of Sonam Tso’s mother in the night. This, a common problem for women in Tibet, accounts for the children being fathered by different men.
10. Tendzin Lhamo
(age 12) lived with her mother after her parents divorced, but once her mother remarried, Tendzin Lhamo was given to her grandmother. Her grandmother has only five yaks, which is not enough to provide adequate income.
11. Phuntsok Wangmo
(age 11) comes from a family of nine, with both parents present. Her mother has chronic fluid in her heart, so all of the family’s income must go to her medical treatment.
12. Rigdzin Drolma/Damcho Tsomo
(age 11) comes from a family of five with a herd of 30 yaks. Her mother has been extremely ill with a sort of stomach disease and is generally unable to work. Her father cares for the livestock, but most of their income goes towards her mother’s medical care.
13. Yeshe Lhamo/Sonam Drolma
(age 12) comes from a family of five. Both her mother and father are in the home, but her mother suffers from chronic back and body pain and is completely incapacitated. She has seen many doctors and lamas who have no remedy, and most feel she will not live long. Her father cares for their herd of 40 yaks, but their income is not enough to support the family and her mother’s medical condition.
14. Tsondru Drolma
(age 11) comes from a family of nine; two are elderly and except for her father and mother, the others are too young to work. They have a herd of 30 yaks. They also have nine dogs and last year they were able to sell dogs for additional income, but this year they have not. The livestock provide enough income to cover the family’s food expense, but little else.
15. Changchub Kyid
(age 12) has five siblings, all who live with her mother and with no father in the household. Her mother provides all of the care for the children and for the family’s 15 yaks, but the livestock do not bring in enough income to cover their living expenses.
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