Out of 24 young people, 15 volunteered. I find these conversations of such interest that I am repeating them here. We realized that family and homeland Dolpo are at the heart of their thinking and that the concept of happiness is defined differently than by young people here. Happiness means first and foremost the well-being of the family. It is also astonishing that the boys – especially as eldest or only son – feel less free in their choices than the girls. Assuming that a large proportion of mothers are illiterate, and that some of the fathers and parents live as semi-nomads, it is surprising how much the young people want to coordinate their plans with their parents.
In addition, they know that the school association cannot finance a university degree. In each case, a solution would have to be sought individually or agreed with the sponsor. After the 10th grade, we finance vocational training or college attendance (grades 11 and 12). After college, you can work as a primary school teacher in Nepal without any further training.
Chhoeying Norbu (m) 20 years old, grade 12, from Namdo, 7 sisters, father disabled (lost right arm)
I am the only son and my parents need me. That’s why I’m going back to Namdo next year after graduating as a teacher. If I don’t go back, my sister can’t come to the hostel and go to secondary school because she has to help at home. My dream would be to continue training to become a teacher in science subjects. But that is not possible.
Pema Tsewang (m) 20 years old, grade 12, from Namdo, one brother
My dream would be to become Amchi (Tibetan naturopathic doctor), but my parents need help, so I changed my plans. Life in Dolpo is very hard, I want to improve the educational situation and at the same time help my parents. In order to get better vocational training, I would like to do the bachelor’s degree in education, but I have to talk to the parents first if they can manage without me any time longer. (Note: Pema Tsewang would be in the fortunate situation that the sponsor would cover the costs of tuition fees.)
Dolma Choekyi (f) 19 years old, in the 2nd year of training as a Health Assistant, from Karang, 1 brother
I am able to realize my plans, I want to become a doctor (Note: Health Assistant is an education as a “Doctor for Remote Area”). I want to work in the Dolpo in our villages, the health situation there is very critical. There are no trained people.
Pema Dolma, 16 years old, class 10, from Namdo, 2 siblings
I would very much like to be a doctor, but that is impossible, because my parents cannot pay for it, and I do not think my sponsor would do that. It costs a lot of money. That’s why I want to become a health assistant and then work somewhere in Dolpo and live there. My brother takes care of our parents.
Pasang Bhuti (f) 16 years old, class 10, from Namdo, 8 brothers
I would like to do a training as a banking clerk. After grade 10, I want to go to college with a focus on maths and accounting. My dream would be to work at Nepal Investment Bank. I’m looking forward to the trip to Dharamsala, maybe I’ll get new ideas on how to implement my plans. But I’m going to make it. My brothers look after our parents. Since I probably won’t get paid for my studies, I want to earn money as a maths teacher and save for a degree.
Pema Sangmo (f) 16 Jahr alt, Klasse 10 aus Namdo, 6 Geschwister, davon 3 Brüder
Eigentlich würde ich gern Krankenschwester, das wäre mein Traum – aber meine Zensuren in den naturwissenschaftlichen Fächern sind nicht so gut, deshalb werde ich wohl nicht die Aufnahmeprüfung bestehen. Ich werde das College besuchen und nach der 12. Klasse als Lehrerin ins Dolpo gehen. Ich bin gut in Mathematik und Mathe-Lehrer sind gefragt.
Tsultrim (m) 16 years old, class 10, from Namdo, 4 siblings (including 3 brothers)
I want to go to college after 10th grade with a focus on trade and economics/administration. Such people are scarce in the Dolpo. But I have to discuss this with my parents, whether they agree and can manage without me. If that doesn’t work, I would work as a teacher in social subjects (history, geography and economy).
Dawa Dorje (Pasang Bhuti’ brother) 15 years, class 9, from Namdo, 7 brothers, 1 sister
My dream would be an engineering job, I want to build roads and bridges. That’s missing everywhere in the Dolpo. That’s why I want to study maths and science in college, but I have to discuss that with my parents. Amchi, a Tibetan doctor, would also be a possibility, but as an engineer I could make a difference.
Dawa Lhamo (f) 15 years, class 9, from Karang, 6 siblings (of which 5 brothers)
I want to be a social worker. I want to help people who are sick, have no home and little or nothing to eat, children without parents… I experienced the earthquake and then saw a lot of terrible things. That’s where I want to work and help. Jobs exist with the government and at foreign NGOs. My brothers would look after our parents.
Pema Tenzin (m) 15 years, class 8, from Namdo, 5 siblings (including 3 brothers)
I want to work in tourism. If I get the opportunity, I would like to become a properly trained guide who shows our beautiful landscapes, natural reserves and monuments to tourists. I would like to work where there are nature reserves, protected areas and world heritage sites. Two of my brothers stay with my parents, so, relatively seen, I am quite free in planning.
Pema Choezom (f) 16 years old, class 9, from Namdo, 8 siblings (including 3 brothers)
I would very much like to become a doctor, namely an ophthalmologist. In Dolpo, many old people can see badly or are even blind. Even younger ones lose sight due to illness and cannot travel to the capital because it is too expensive. Unfortunately, nobody chooses this profession, which is so important. I’m sure that if I really work hard for this, I can achieve my goal.
Tenzin Norbu, brother of Pema Sangmo,15 J, class 9, 6 siblings (including 2 brothers)
I would very much like to become a tourist guide, one who works in Dolpo. There are hardly any guides from the Dolpo. They come with the trekking groups from Kathmandu. I want to learn English well, but I don’t know how to become a guide yet. I want to discuss this with my parents after 10th grade, as a guide in the Dolpo I can also help them a lot at home.
Or else, I become a teacher with the subjects health/hygiene etc. There is still quite a lack of education in these subjects.
Pema Dardhul (m) 16 years old, class 8, from Namdo, 2 brothers, 1 sister
I would like to become a businessman in the field of international transport! (Note: We were so amazed by this answer that we interrupted him and asked what his idea of this job looks like.) We have 4- 5 yaks in the family, I would like to buy some more. Then I start trading with the help of yak caravans to China and from there to Dolpo, from Dolpo to South Nepal or to India. But I only want to trade food. And if there should be a road at some point, then I buy a truck.
My dream would be a football career – but only Hindus from high castes make it into the good clubs in Nepal – as a Buddhist and Dolpopa I have zero chance. (Note. He’s the good goalie).
Lhakpa (m) 13 years old, class 7, from Karang, 4 siblings
I would like to build real houses, so I want to become a construction engineer. I’m very good at math and drawing. But it’s my parents who have to decide, otherwise I might become a teacher in the Dolpo and can help them after school.
Tsering Wangmo (f) 13 J, Class 7, from Namdo, 3 siblings
I don’t have any exact ideas yet, but I would like to be a dentist. I don’t know exactly how to do that, but that would be great. Because in Dolpo there are no dentists and many people have big problems with their teeth. My grandmother always swallows painkillers because she suffers bad tooth ache.
The conversations were held in November 2016 in Kathmandu at the hostel by Ursulena Heilmann and Sonngard Trindler.
Compilation of the texts: Sonngard Trindler