Namgay Lhamo

 

“I didn’t get into college straight out of high school, so I spent 2 years in Bumthang as a librarian. I reapplied to college to keep studying. I was a ‘buddy leader’ in college assisting newcomers with their problems. We spoke about everything from family issues to substance problems. By encouraging them to share, it felt like we were truly helping them. 

After doing the RCSE 3 times, and the PE twice, I finally passed both in 2018. However, the slots just up to my rank were filled, so I went back to my village. At first, I felt like I was wasting my education. However, rather than criticising me, everyone appreciated that someone who was educated came back. I found that I could actually help people. When we didn’t know something, I could easily do a Google search or look for a video on YouTube. 

Before, I had never thought of participating in local elections. I heard about BNEW (Bhutan Network for Empowering Women) and looked them up online. I saw that women had many different roles, and I thought that with my qualifications, I could participate too. I went for a BNEW training and decided to take part in the local elections. Starting at the local level felt like a good opportunity because I have control over whether I want to stay in the village or seek a promotion to go elsewhere. 

I am the first woman to even contest in the Dangchu gewog Tshogpa elections. It felt like I created history. During my campaign period, I used what BNEW taught me to go around and talk to people, sharing my manifesto and learning about their problems. I learned that women’s roles shouldn’t remain at the back of society. I go to the Tshogpa office every Monday and for other important work. The rest of the time, I farm or go around to talk to community members. 

I am a mother and a leader, and my biggest challenge is taking care of my 2-year-old son. I often have to bring him along to my meetings as there is no one else to look after him. There’s really nothing we women can’t do. I was happy when I won because I could help benefit my community and also make a small salary to support myself. If you are independent and don’t give up, you will always be rewarded in the end.” 

 

#HumansofThimphu #HumanStories #Thimphu

 

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