By Pema Choedon
NEW DELHI, India, 20 June 2015
The platform that I have the privilege of holding today has been a dream of mine since I was a child. I used to play “beauty pageant” as a game – and used to win most of the time. But my childhood dream came true when I was really crowned as Miss Tibet 2015 on 7th of June in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala. For a few seconds when I was crowned and people were shouting my name, I felt like it was a dream. However, with this beautiful crown comes a heavy responsibility and duty to fulfil.
The Miss Tibet pageant is a platform for women to come forth and speak out as representatives of Tibetan women in exile. It also gives us an opportunity to showcase to the world our talents and our rich heritage. Many people take a beauty pageant as a platform that highlights the external image of female beauty. But to me, Miss Tibet pageant is about the inner beauty and confidence which is more than skin deep, such as intelligence, kindness and wisdom. These are the qualities of empowered women. And I received these qualities from my mother and paternal aunty, who has been serving more than twenty-five years to the Tibetan Medical Hospital (Men-tsee-khang) in Dekyiling, Dehra Dun.
My ultimate ambition is to bring a difference in society and work for the people. In receiving one lakh rupees [1,600 USD approx] and the esteemed title, I have achieved a precious opportunity to help people and animals in need. I donated part of my prize money to the Dharamshala Animal Rescue. I gave another part to the monastery in a remote village of Sikkim where I have volunteered, where the sole bread earner is the Abbot himself for seventy monks. I will also be donating and raising funds for Doma Foundation in Nepal, that helps the “invisible” Tibetans (who are without any citizenship proof). Doma is one of the few organisation to help such Tibetans. However, to raise funds I need more support from others. I hope after reading my article people will get influenced to help and support these foundations.
My next plan is to visit Tibetan Homes School, Mussoorie, the school I had graduated from, and organise a workshop to increase the confidence of students, especially girls, and inspire them to be strong and empowered Tibetans.
I intend to study further, and along with that I want to do many social works and serve society. Today I have managed to achieve so much from the blessings of my parents who are always with me in my prayers.
I want to thank Lobsang Wangyal for giving birth to such a meaningful Pageant, which is in one way a rebel for the cause of Tibet and secondly an empowerment of women in our society. I hope that this platform continues to bring strength and opportunities to Tibetan women.
About the author
Pema Choedon became Miss Tibet 2015 on 7 June 2015.