Tshering Zangmo

“I was born in Trashigang where my late Father worked as an immigration officer. We were very young when he passed away with an illness so stories from ama are all we have to remember him. Ama became our rock after his death. Even with no education, she saved enough from her weaving to open a restaurant in Samdrup Jongkhar. To not be a burden, I was sent to my grandparents for school. Every vacation, I’d rush home to help Ama. That’s when I got familiar with the restaurant business. After class 12, I did have wishes for college but seeing ama’s struggle with her health and business, I joined her permanently. 

In 2020, her illness finally took a toll on her and I had to take over completely. A year later, she passed away. I had the responsibility of keeping alive the business she’d handed over to me. Things were hardly going smooth but the things she’d taught all my life were proving useful now. But with COVID, the business took a downward spiral despite our best efforts. We used to have employees from across the border. Now it’s just my sister and I running our mother’s restaurant. It’s gotten even tougher as lockdown continues, and most of the time we fail to pay the rent. I’m behind on 4 months of rent already. The only upside is that we get a break after years of working.

Before the pandemic, Samdrup Jongkhar used to be a business hub where people from all the eastern Dzongkhags came for shopping. Restaurants like ours saw a good number of customers and paying rent on time was never an issue. 

The glory of Samdrup Jongkhar lies in its women as we are a woman-led business town. The majority of the establishments are run by women and hence gender discrimination is not common. However, a restaurant is a place where all kinds of people come to eat. Some would misbehave and create trouble and even make inappropriate jokes and verbal advances. But there are also those who are respectful of others and know how to behave; It’s always a mix of different kinds of people.”

Humans of Thimphu with RENEW celebrates the women who are heroes of their own stories and women who face difficult trials and tribulations in life. #SheDecides and no one can stop her!

Day 4 to countdown for International Women’s Day

#SheDecides. #OurChampions #OurIronLadies #UnsungHeroes


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