Sonam from Japan LEP program in Coma with 99.9 % brain damage since Sept 2018

‘I will be staying back even if I have to eat minimal food everyday. I will do anything to recover my daughter’: Mother

27-year-old Sonam Tamang was a hardworking, understanding and loveable daughter to her family. According to her family, throughout her schooling, she suffered but that made her stronger and she knew the meaning of life and that hard work pays off.

She went to boarding school when she was in class seven but when she did not qualify for college, she did not give up, and repeated class 12. She qualified for Gedu College, which was her happiest moment.

After completing her studies in 2016, when she didn’t get through the Preliminary Exam, she had to hunt for a job. While she was struggling for a job, she heard of the ‘Learn and Earn’ (LEP) program to go to Japan through the Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO) agent.

“Ama, I heard that I can earn more in Japan then here. Can I go?”  she explained to her mother about the program in Japan and her mother agreed to her decision to go to Japan.

That was another very happy moment in her life, not knowing that would be her last gathering with her family. The happiness did not last for long.

Sonam went to Japan in October, 2017 and in September 2018 she fell sick and went into coma. The fact is that her life now completely depends on a life-supporting or ventilation machine at an Intensive Care Unit in Japan.

Pasang Tamang, her eldest brother, said he learned from the Japanese doctor that she had TB earlier and Meningitis.

Her situation was aggravated by tuberculosis and working under harsh conditions in a factory in Japan.

The Bhutanese learned that her mother and father do not know fully about her health condition beyond the Coma.

Pasang said that her health condition is as same as before, and nothing has changed for the better.

Her health condition is updated after every two weeks by her roommate, said her brother.

He said their father is having doubts about her health condition but the mother does not know anything except for the coma.

The brother said that 99.9 percent of Sonam’s brain is damaged, according to what he heard. The information on Sonam’s brain damage was made public before too.

The brother had other detailed and more critical health information about Sonam but both the paper and the brother decided not to share that part of the information until the mother can find out for herself.

The brother said the mother is a heart patient and he is a bit worried about the reaction she will have when she knows about the detailed health condition of her daughter.

Pasang received a call from the labour ministry that the government is going to fund their stay in Japan for 20 days. Pasang and their mother will be flying to Japan probably next week, he added.

After 20 days, they will have to manage on their own. However, government will see what they can do for them and discuss about that matter.

Over a telephonic conversation, the mother Dhan Maya said she is very happy that she is finally going to be by her daughter’s side. She said she could not be with her when she fell sick for almost a year. She believes that when she is there with her daughter, her daughter might recover.

The mother said her daughter, before going to Japan, said she can earn there and she also said that within one year she can pay off the loan and within another year, she can save for building a small cottage for the family.

Dhan Maya said she will only come back when her daughter recovers or not at all. “My eldest son will be coming back after 20 days since we cannot afford two people financially, but I will be staying back even if I have to eat minimal food everyday. I will do anything to recover my daughter,” said Dhan Maya, her voice choking with emotion.

“I am waiting for a call from the ministry, I wish they could send us tomorrow itself, I cannot wait any longer,” said the mother.

Sonam is one of the more serious casualties in a long list of health problems faced by students sent to Japan through BEO on the LEP program.

The allegation by students and parents is that since they were not making enough money, as promised by BEO, and the loan was so high, they had to work multiple jobs and even in hazardous conditions.

Apart from the one coma case there have been two deaths, 30 TB cases, 2 paralysis cases, 2 mental breakdowns and many traumatized youth cases in the BEO Japan LEP case.

The parents’ committee members believe it could be due to strenuous work conditions and timings which led the students to take fast food without proper timing and nutrition. Some said physical and mental stress could have led to cause the illnesses.

The parents’ committee on 3rd July filed a police case as a first step to a criminal case against BEO.

They expressed disappointment in the ACC investigation which did not go to Japan and also the stance of the ruling government and opposition, both of whom they accuse of protecting the agent.

70 percent of Sonam’s heath expenditure is met by medical insurance while another 30 percent is met by the Ministry.

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  1. Tshewang Tenzin

    It’s so sad of hearing the news.
    Please do something la

  2. Can i donate some money to help
    If I can. Please send where

    Hope she recovers soon

    • Tshering Zangmo

      Following are the bank details of the mother. Her name is Dhan Maya and her account number is 102760331. Thank you !


    Ithis case falls under the criminal negligence law that has resulted in several serious cases : ‘ 2 deaths , 30 cases of tuberculosis , 2 cases of tubrculosis , 2 cases of paralysis and several serious traumas among thoses young people engaged in LEP .
    The BEO officer in charge of LEP has totally lacked professionnal responsability . And everywhere in the world , all managers involved in difficult situation protect themselves ; that is why he agent is reputated innoncent.
    The Court of justice will deliver his sentence.
    1/Why the BEO has not submitted a medical examination to the protagonist of LEP in Japan according the before authorizing the suitor to leave . 2/ Why there no immunization logbook with any student on himself 3/ Why did the BEO agent has not made the trip to Japan and has not took stock of the conditions in situ of the employment of thoses youths? This was allowed to the organizers to dismissed to the frenetic pace of japaneses pace of japaneses work . Japan is short of Manpower due to the aging of its .
    Good relations between the two states facilitate exchanges.
    Thera are vaccines , againt tuberculosis , meningitis among others ; in the land of free health , this should
    be respected
    As for blessed Sonam , her medical background has accentuated her desesperate state , who condemns her definitively since she has Fallen in coma of type 4 , mean brain death ; a colateral damang may comme : her mother suffering cardia risk risk a serious crisis with the annoucement of the health defecate of her daughter.

    Obviously the text is not written by the treating Doctor so we cannot elaborate a predictive dignity without knowing the treatment protocole
    We pray that Lord Bhudda to help the Soman’s family to accept the future.

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