Tibetan girls are a very valuable part of the household, the girls and women are the household workers who gather and make food, collect and boil water, and are in charge of the fire and the shelter itself. In many traditional households, letting a female go off to study in school is a major loss of household stability, which depends on the labor of the women and girls. The Chinese educational laws have evened the “playing field” for Tibetan women in many ways. The access to education for young girls has been transformative for their socio-economic status and lives. Now with hundreds of vocational options, many young women like this scholarship recipient Gaia, is choosing to enter a previously male dominated profession. Becoming a medical doctor is still groundbreaking for Tibetan women. These scholarships are putting these young women’s dreams in reach and offering a certain freedom to women who have been bound by oppressive gender norms. Gaia shares her story below:
“For ordinary people like my parents, it is really difficult for two college students and a high school student to go to school. The economic pressure is great, so I want to alleviate the economic pressure of my parents.
My family has no farmland, no livestock, in order to send us three sisters to school. Now my parents work to support the family. The most painful thing is that my dad is sick, and can’t work much, so their income can only maintain our life and other hefty fees. For example, tuition fees are all loans, which I will have to repay when I graduate and find work.
Education is important. Education can help people obtain knowledge, be sensible, can help them learn to survive. Education is also one of the ways in which we can teach people how to make a living. I think I must have a good education, so that I can learn my specialty, get good work, improve our family to get rid of the financial burdens, and then continue to work in the medical community. We all hope to be healthy, but death is the law of life. So we will all need the doctor. I don’t want people to get sick with diseases that have no cure, so I want to struggle for the future, and lay a good foundation for the treatment of patients.”
Gaia was a student in TBF’s Huangnan English Training Program from 2011-2014. Her dream was always to be a doctor. She wrote a letter of thanks to the scholarship funders and said that when she told her parents about the scholarship, her mother began to cry. Her parents wanted to make sure that the funders heard their sincere thanks.