The Tibetan Mother Teresa.
The ‘Help on Hand’ Project in Chandigarh, North India.
There is a saintly woman toiling for the sick and poor away from the world of limelight, glamour, charity and chatters people in our age crave so hungrily. When I reached her simple patient ward early in the morning, windows were already lit with light and a faint shadow of a figure moving behind the curtains. Instantly, an image of Florence Nightingale tending the wounded soldiers came to my mind. I begin to realize why Tsering Dolkar, a woman from a humble Tibetan family is known as the Tibetan Mother Teresa.
There was no time for a formal reception when she came out from her patient ward, she smiles and informed me that she was going to receive a patient at PGI Hospital. She took me through dark alleyways and hired a rickshaw puller to take us to the hospital. In minutes time I realized that my day’s rendezvous with the Tibetan Mother Teresa was already underway.
To write about a saintly woman is an enormously humbling experience. She turned out to be a short, soft spoken and a down to earth person. She move in and out from one clinic to another, meeting doctors, fixing appointments, dealing with patients and keeping track of each patient. It is her day’s work. It is incredibly difficult to believe how such a simple built woman can stand up for a dozen of patients with the severe cases of cancers, chronic illness and complex medical ailments.
Behind the façade of her saintly presence and all pervasive humanism there is an unceremonious truth about our Tibetan society and its dark side where a lone woman social worker battles day and night for patients with serious medical conditions with little funding and support from the society.
She hardly occupies a place and recognition in our society. There is no charity pouring in, no beeline of public figures standing by her and encouraging her to go on with the noble mission, while so called professed representatives of the common people, in the electoral democracy, rush to important religious and social ceremonies taking place in Tibetan settlements in droves, to build up their vote bank and shore supports. Yet this saint could not attract a single public figure. How painful is the irony?
There is a glow of an aura and love that manifests from her presence. The way she addresses her patients and establishes the bond, it is akin to an affection communicated from a mother to her beloved children. When she enters a ward, she lights the room and there was visible cheerfulness, hope and joy in the eyes of the patients.
There have been memoirs and biographies written by aristocratic women claiming themselves the ‘Daughter of Tibet’. Although largely historical accidents, they had no visible contribution to Tibetan society except their births. In this sense, the life and mission of the Tibetan Mother Teresa is a legacy born to a humble Tibetan family destined to serve Tibet’s other unfortunate sons and daughters. She is truly the truest Daughter of Tibet who chose to live with poor, weak and the sick. His Holiness the Dalai Lama once described her service as the ‘deeds of the true Bodhisattva’. I hope her work will continue and inspire many souls.
Chukora Tsering Agloe
Tibet Relief Fund - The ‘Help on Hand’ Project in Chandigarh, North India, was set up by the remarkable Tsering Dolkar, who works tirelessly to help Tibetan hospital patients.
Many Tibetans with life threatening illnesses travel thousands of miles from southern India, Nepal and even Tibet for treatment.
Once they arrive, patients often have nowhere to stay, struggle to understand medical staff and have no family members or friends nearby to help them.
Their needs are all too often overlooked, but Tsering, supported by Tibet Relief Fund, makes sure these patients receive the vital care they need.
Patients come to receive treatment for hepatitis, various forms of cancer such as lung, bone, prostate and throat, heart and digestion problems, as well as some cases of HIV.
‘Help on Hand’ provides accommodation, transportation to and from the hospital, help making appointments, interpreting between doctors and patients, explaining special diets and medication, collecting prescriptions, providing emotional support and arranging funerals as and when necessary.
Once patients have returned home, Tsering Dolkar keeps in regular contact to ensure former patients keep taking their medication and attend follow-up appointments.
The project also has a small emergency fund to pay for vital medical treatment and medication should patients be unable to afford them.
Such simple help transforms the lives of hundreds of patients.
If you would like to make a donation https://www.justgiving.com/HelponHand