Who failed Sonam?

The case of Sonam Tamang, a Learn and Earn Program (LEP) student who fell into coma with massive brain damage after getting TB and Meningitis in Japan, has elicited much sympathy.

It is perhaps time to ask why Sonam is in the state she is in today and who failed her.

Sonam, like many youths, took up the BEO Japan LEP program after availing a large loan of Nu 700,000.

She took the program since BEO, according to students and parents, promised an opportunity to earn good money and pick up Japanese with the chance of a future in Japan.

The BEO now is not only stuck in a legal case with ACC but parents and students are trying to file a separate criminal case based on the testimonies of the vast majority of students who went to Japan.

BEO has both legal as well as moral accountability for its actions as it stands accused of a host of unethical and illegal behavior by students and parents.

Students like Sonam and their parents would have trusted BEO given that it had the backing of the Labour Ministry and a particularly enthusiastic DG who now stands charged by ACC for blatantly favoring BEO.

The result was that when Sonam from a poor background reached Japan with a huge loan, she realized the promises and assurances were not true and that she would need to work much harder and even in hazardous conditions to sustain herself and have some hope of achieving her dreams for her family.

Failure was not an option for Sonam.

Hard work in tough conditions, little rest, stress and a poor diet contributed to Sonam’s system crashing.

She worked herself to near death but well paid politicians in Bhutan hint that people like Sonam were not hardworking enough.

The ACC investigation was incomplete as it focused only in Thimphu while the RCSC let the DG off lightly despite recommendations from the ACC for tough action.

The government waxed eloquent on interest rates, a hard working DG and hinted again at lazy Bhutanese youths.

The ruling and opposition parties stand accused by parents and students of protecting the BEO agent.

We all let Sonam down in the end.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 
Martin Luther King Jr.

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