Karma Kunzang Dorji

“Tragedy struck when my mother passed away while giving birth to my younger brother. In the wake of this loss, my father decided to send us to Tashigang monastery. In the ensuing years, he remarried, and our lives were intertwined with the monastic path for 11 years. Despite the absence of parental love and affection, my brother and I navigated this period by leaning on each other’s unwavering support.

After 11 years, I came to Thimphu and started working with my brother. I went back and forth between Thimphu and Phuentsholing. During one of my trips to Kalimpong, I met two kind people who adopted me and my brother. They took us to Germany to live with them and we learned to speak English there. Growing up was tough for me. I didn’t get to see my mom and didn’t feel the love from a mother like most people do. Even though my new parents were really nice and caring, I still feel sad about missing my real mom’s warm hugs. The thought of not feeling my mother’s warm embrace stings my heart to this day.

As I grew up, I returned to my country and started a travel agency. I also had a few small businesses on the side. My first project was in 2016 where me and my team reached out to people meditating in the caves of Paro and provided them with rations. After that, we met an older person in Serbithang and built a house for him. That project led to more ideas. We carried a differently abled person all the way to Taktsang to fulfill his dream of visiting the monastery in Paro. The first lockdown struck the nation after that and we decided to entertain people who were cooped up in their homes through live streaming on social media platforms such as Tiktok. We even reached out to people who were struggling financially and supported them. After that, we kept doing more. We helped more differently abled people and even started a shop for one person in Mongar.

Our next aim was to reach out to elderly people in need of help. While doing so, we came across an agay from Wamromg. He was living in a make shift tent and had to face nature’s hurdles especially during the monsoon season. We went from Thimphu till Wamrong and started building the foundations for his new home. This project made me realize how ignorant we can be of the basic necessities that life offers and can sometimes be ungrateful even though we have enough. It got me thinking about how everyone should have a comfortable life and that motivated me to put even more energy into helping others.

I also have a home for differently abled people in Pamtsho, funded by a kind Norwegian lady. They each get an allowance of Nu.3500/- per month. I personally do not indulge in substance abuse but I do understand people who give in to these temptations and see it as an escape from the harsh reality of life. They open up to me and tell me how they’ve reached this point in life. Maybe it’s because I dress and look like them.

I do what I do because I’ve realized how it feels to live a life in the dark. We don’t have multiple lives and in the short amount of time that we have, I feel that we should always try to be good human beings and embrace the goodness that life has to offer. I’ve encountered challenges on my journey of life, but I’ve learned to gather my strength and do what I do best with all my heart. I didn’t decide to help others for attention, fame or to become popular. I chose this path because I’ve personally survived through one of life’s most difficult periods. I was brought out of this darkness by kind people and I want to be the same glimmer of hope for other people too.

My wife has been there for me since day one and I am eternally grateful for her presence that keeps my family together. Because of the nature of my work, I need to travel a lot and she has been nothing but understanding and supportive. For this, I am indebted to her love for me and our family”.


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