By Yogesh Kumar
DEHRA DUN, India, 27 June 2015
Last month, Pema Choden, a Doonite, was crowned Miss Tibet 2015 in McLeod Ganj. It changed her life forever. From being a nobody, I have became a someone, she says.
She now plans to raise funds for Tibetans living in Nepal. “They need a lot of help. I know this because I lived in Nepal,” she said.
After winning the Miss Tibet 2015 crown on June 8, she could not stop herself from heading back to Doon and visiting her alma mater, Tibetan Homes School in Happy Valley in Mussoorie.
“I am overwhelmed to come here to share my experiences with the other Tibetan girls, who are mostly orphans like me and study here. I want to tell them, how is it outside [world], be it getting jobs or studying,” said Choden, who now lives in Delhi.
The school has over 1,000 students who live in hostels dotting the leafy campus along Happy Valley. “I see it as my duty to share my experience with Tibetan students, especially girls, to boost their confidence in taking on everyone in life. Tibetan girls are very shy and don’t know much about the life outside.
“The students asked so many questions about life in Delhi, my travels and how I prepared to become Miss Tibet. It is really good to see them so confident and talking about their dreams. I see it as a very big positive,” she said.
She comes across as a girl-next-door. Soft-spoken and a dreamer with a restless soul, she lost her parents who were refugees, at a young age. Her aunt brought her to Dehradun and then she was admitted in Mussoorie school. “I miss Dehradun a lot: Its weather, the hills and rain,” said Choden.
She admitted to have never thought of participating or winning Miss Tibet. “I always thought I am too short but then in March, I changed my mind and took the plunge,” said Choden. After completing her schooling she moved to Delhi for pursuing her graduation in LSR College in 2009 and later joined JNU. She now plans to enroll for M.Phil at JNU.