Y-VIA builds a house for abandoned 78-year-old woman

Angay Dawa Gyelmo sitting near the door steps of her old hutGrowing old is no holiday experience, it’s a given, but a little compassion from others, healing words, and a little love and care would go a long way to make the journey a pleasant one for those who have entered the winters of their lives.

Unfortunately, in the case of a 78-year-old Angay Dawa Gyelmo from Pemagatshel who has no one to look after her at this vulnerable stage of life, every day is tryst with life, and challenges are doubled in the absence of a shoulder to lean on, someone who could cook for her, tend to her toilet routine, clean up after her, etc.

Words that Dawa Gyelmo speaks are hardly understood by any listener, with the frail body weakened by age, it takes hours to put herself from one point to another. Therefore, she tends to move around less.

She is living on her own with the little she gets, the benefit of Nu 800 stipend that she gets every month. She is a widow, but has a daughter and son who have abandoned her long time back, and didn’t turn homeward since then.

It is said she is being looked after by one of her relatives, not on a regular basis but as and when he happens to visit the place. Besides this support from the relative of hers, there isn’t anybody to look after her. It was learnt that nobody knows of Angay Dawa Gyelmo’s whereabouts apart from him.

She used to live in a hut, which was on the verge of collapsing, and looking at the conditions of Angay Dawa Gyelmo some 40 young volunteers from the Young Volunteers In Action (Y-VIA) based at Pemagatshel have constructed a small house and a toilet with electrification, which was completed in three Sundays timeframe.

She now lives in a new house with electricity, cemented-floor, and has a set of bedroom items.

The youth coordinator Thubten G. Dorji said Angay Dawa Gyelmo was so happy to see her new house that she even shed tears and circled around her new house probably out of sad realizations, and new found hope in her withering stage of life.

“She has seen electricity for the first time in all her 78-years of life and she found it so bright and huge,” he said.

Y-VIA of Pemagatshel region is embarking on a project at the community level at Khar gewog under Pemagatshel.

The Y-VIA is an active network of young volunteers under the Bhutan Youth Development Fund (YDF) initiated in 2003, with a vision to create a strong network of young volunteers in Bhutan dedicated toward achieving GNH through volunteerism and leadership.

Along with some 40 young volunteers, four teachers and principal of Pemagatshel have taken part in the cause.

The youth coordinator Thubten G. Dorji said, “Few local carpenters have also committed to join the group on voluntary basis to provide ideas and techniques to the young volunteers for the construction.”

He said construction work is done particularly on Sundays to make sure that students involved in the project are not disturbed in their studies and moreover. “The volunteers will also get to learn some techniques on how a traditional house is constructed,” said Thubten.

Through active participation, capacity building and volunteerism, the Y-VIA will also address issues that concern the communities, people, culture, and the environment in partnership with relevant agencies and establish a strong youth network that is dynamic, strong, and sustainable.

The project is being initiated by Pemagatsel Y-VIA, and the material for the construction is being financed by Druk Satair Corporation Ltd., Pemagatshel after seeking valuable recommendations and support from the dzongkhag.

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