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KalsangMy name is Kalsang Dolma, I was born in Tibet (the roof of the world). I'm Tibetan.

Leaving Tibet in 1983

I left Tibet when I was very young, along with my twin sister Yangdon, my second elder brother and our father. Unfortunately, my mother passed away when I was two and a half years old. I come from a very big family. Two elder sisters and a brother are still in Tibet. I don't have a great family experience to talk about for I was parted from my most of them at a young age.
We left Tibet in 1983 and since then I haven't seen my elder sisters, and only once I met our brother Shedup Ghatso (he is a Buddhist monk). Our father had to go back to Tibet, after leaving us in India in the exile community, Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, north India. The place is also known as 'little Lhasa'. Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet.

Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) in Dharamsala

I passed my early childhood in a boarding school in Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) in Dharamsala, which was started in 1960 by Mrs. Tsering Dolma La, the older sister of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I was always together with my sister (Yangdon) and our elder brother (Passang Tsering) who was more than a brother to us. He would take care of us and try to replace our parents. He was everything to us even though he was only seven years old! We were so proud to have such a wonderful brother. Our childhood was sad because we didn't see our parents, sisters and relatives, but somehow I was happy in the boarding school. TCV School is one of the biggest schools for Tibetans in India. I am very grateful to TCV for giving me such a good education and opportunity. Every year, about 200 Tibetan students graduate from the school. Most of them are refugees who leave Tibet at a very young age and whose parents and dear ones are left in our Mother Land under the Chinese invasion.

Homage to the TCV School

I want to express how proud I am to have gone to the TCV School:

The warm and the loving care from the foster parents,
The love and the compassion from the elders,
The kind attention from the teachers,
The education of the school..,
And the happiness of my fellow schoolmates and friends, which has made my childhood very colourful.

"They will come later.."

When I was 9 years old, I had a time when I found myself hoping to see my parents every day, but they never came. When we asked our brother when they would come, he would answer "They will come later", and later we learnt about Tibet's story, its history, its tradition and its beautiful culture. My twin sister and I used to talk so much about our parents.. Looking back, I realise that we asked a lot of questions to our brother and it was probably very hard for him to answer them all.
I still have the faith that we will meet our father and other dear ones very soon…

Meeting with our brother in '93

One of our happiest moments was when we met our brother Shedup, 11 years ago. It was such good moment in our lives. We spent a week together with him in Nepal, it was in April 1993. We talked about our father and experienced a lot of happiness and also sad moments (our brother Passang couldn't come). After that week in Nepal, we went back to Dharamsala, where we got our school results.

Meeting Ann Dolma of Auroville in '94

A year later, in June 1994 I met Ann Dolma from Auroville. Just before her coming, I had read some information about Auroville and was very curious to know more and maybe even visit. I asked the school's director to let me know as soon as there would be an opportunity to visit Auroville. He suggested I should meet Ann first and get to know more about the place. I had a few talks with Ann and decided to come to Auroville because I was very much interested in environment, plants and flowers, and Ann had been very encouraging about me coming to Auroville and becoming a gardener or something. I thought I would do some training here and see. Ann said there was space for two students in a training program. So that is when I made up my mind.

Arriving in Auroville

I arrived on July 12th, 1994 along with Nyamang Tsering, who is also still here in Auroville and Lhaden Tsering, who has left after learning English (about a two-years-period).
At the beginning it was difficult to adapt to the climate, it was so hot and different from the Himalayas. I had a hard time, things were not working out for me and my expectations had been so different.. But I did like the place and the people. I first landed in Kottakarai guesthouse. I had come there to do a training in gardening but there were no teachers or anything like that.. So I went to the Matrimandir Nursery and worked with others in the orchid section. At that point I would go, walking, from Kottakarai Guesthouse to the Matrimandir Nursery, and back. My life in Auroville began with those two places, one point to another, a straight line.


Then one day, Ann took me to visit Shradhanjali, one of Auroville's commercial units. I liked it so much that after a few days I asked Ann if I could change work. She advised me to ask Abha (Shradhanjali's manager) first and so that is what I did. I would work every morning in the Nursery and every afternoon in Shradhanjali.

Newcomer period

After 3 months I decided that I wanted to join Auroville as a newcomer and go through the entry process. I felt that there was peace, non-violence and unity in this small city and after reading some books from Mother and Sri Aurobindo, I was sure I wanted to settle down. I did not face many major problems with my newcomer period, except for financial difficulties. I did not have money but I worked full day with a lot of sincerity. For me, whatever I do in this life, it has to be sincere and honest. For one full year I stayed (moving from one community to another) and worked for Auroville the best I could, in the burning hot month of May as well as in the rainy monsoon weeks.

Finding a home in Aspiration

I tried many communities, after Kottakarai came Prarthna, Fraternity's Youth Camp, Dana and Aspiration. Community life was always what I was seeking (I guess I grew up in a kind of community too): the people around (neighbors) would be so supportive, no need for your parents or your blood-family.. The community would take care of you if you needed it. That is what I liked most in Aspiration, one of the oldest communities in Auroville. I moved there in 1996 and am still living there now.

I feel independent in this incredibly peaceful,
united and active city

I now work in Nandini (a service unit, mainly providing clothes). I think Auroville is the perfect place for me. I feel independent in this incredibly peaceful, united and active city. You have so many opportunities, different things to do, people to meet if you want, or you can just be somewhere one your own. I can't even see the bad points of Auroville because I love it so much..! Well, maybe.., I'm a bit far from my sister and dear brother, but everything is possible, so I never give up.

About the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture

Apart from working in Nandini, I'm also strongly involved in the Tibetan Pavilion project. It will be the second pavilion in Auroville. Mr. Claude Arpi, a French Aurovilian, is the director of the Tibetan Pavilion and I help him organise programmes and workshops for Tibetan people (for instance in 'career empowerment'). I also help a medical Tibetan doctor, Dr. Dorjee Rabten, who comes once a month from the Tibetan settlement in Bangalore, to give consultancy to Aurovilians. I help with arranging the appointments and so on, and he sees the people from a room in the Tibetan Pabvilion, even though the building is still under construction. At present only the ground floor rooms are ready. In the future, there will be a restaurant, library, guesthouse, exhibition hall and a conference hall.

Message to the viewers

Try to help those who are in need of it, and be happy!

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