Tsering Dolkar receives Free Spirit Award 2019

Tsering Dolkar receives the Free Spirit Award 2019 in McLeod Ganj, India, on 29 October 2019.

Tsering Dolkar receives the Free Spirit Award 2019 in McLeod Ganj, India, on 29 October 2019. Tibet Sun/Contributor

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McLEOD GANJ, India, 30 October 2019

In grateful recognition of her selfless service to sick and destitute people needing help, Tsering Dolkar has been given the Free Spirit Award 2019.

Along with a scarf and a certificate, the award came with 50,000 rupees. The prize money was sponsored by Hope and Challenge, an organisation based in Kathmandu that provides support for children’s education and drug addicts’ rehabilitation.

Receiving the award during the opening of the Free Spirit Film Festival last night, Tsering Dolkar described the support she provides to patients who travel to Chandigarh from different parts of India and Nepal for medical treatment.

“I was to go to college, but after seeing sick and destitute people crying for help, I gave up studies to help them. It was more than 20 years ago.”

She has since been helping people with doctor appointments, translating what the doctors tells them, gets their medicines, and takes care of them at her home while they recover, which can sometimes last for months, until they are able to return home.

It has become her day job, but without any salary. Her sister, Lhakpa Dolma, who had been with her all these years, finally left for France earlier this year due to financial constraints. “My sister left in the hope of improving our financial situation,” Dolkar said.

Dolkar was in Chandigarh to do her BA after completing her schooling from Tibetan Children’s Village near McLeod Ganj, but gave up her studies to take it on her shoulders to provide much-needed care for those Tibetans and others who were travelling great distances for medical treatment. She began dedicating her life for the service of the sick in 1995.

An audience with the Dalai Lama in 2004 furthered her commitment to her service after he said that what she was doing was akin to a Bodhisattva’s way of life. Her resolve to serve became even stronger after that meeting.

Dolkar receives some funding assistance annually from Tibet Relief Fund, and a Frenchman is supporting her rent.

For her continuing selfless service taking care of sick people seven days a week, Tsering Dolkar earned the nickname ‘Tibetan Mother Teresa’.

The Free Spirit Award was created in 2003 to show appreciation for people working for peace and justice, social, and environmental issues from around the world. The annual award is marked by presentation of a certificate with an inscription summing up the work of the distinguished receiver.


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