will to survive is mightier than nature’s wrath

DAGSHAI: Destruction could not defeat the determination of Tsewang(14) and Kunzang(12), sisters who lost their family when flash flood in Leh flattened their home but they found a fresh lease of life when the western command of Indian Army adopted them. Presently studying at the Army Public school in Dagshai, the sisters were overwhelmed by the gestures of Lieutenant General S.R. Ghosh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Army Command, who met the two girls at Dagshai on the sidelines of the army school’s annual day celebrations and felicitate them.
Over 190 people were killed and another 200 went missing in the flash floods in Leh after the cloudburst. In the devastation that the natural disaster left in the Ladakh region, several thousands lost their families and were rendered homeless. The army was in the forefront of the immediate rescue and relief operations in the Ladakh region that went on for over a month. When Ladakh Scouts regiment of the Indian Army in which their father had served came to know about their plight, the girls were adopted and admitted to the prestigious school at Dagshai in Himachal Pradesh. Commanding Officer (CO) of Ladakh Scouts and his wife are now custodians of these teenagers.

Father of the two sisters, a soldier with Ladakh scouts died during the Kargil war in 1999 and their mother married his younger brother. On 6th August last year the girls lost their mother, step father and step brother as rubble covered the entire Choglamsar village. The girls survived the tragedy as Tsewang had gone to a nearby village Saboo to meet one of her relatives and Kunzang was in the school hostel. “The loss is irreparable and we can not make up for what nature snatched away but we will ensure that they get the best of education and are taken care of in every way possible. They will be provided the best of exposure to the world so that they can grown up as confident girls and pursue their lives, “said , Lt Gen S R Ghosh.

The girls get emotional and often breakdown crying while talking about the day when they were orphaned but soon the indomitable spirit and steely resolve of these two girls wins over the sad memory as they start to speak about their friends and school. “I miss the traditional food and my grandmother but i plan to take some of my friends to Leh and teach them the language,”said Kunzang who aims to be a cardiologist and Tsewang wants to become a pilot in the Indian Airforce.

Today, both of them are adjusting to their new lives, “i love to play basketball and study so that i can become a doctor,”said Tsewang. “The school is very nice and the teachers are very helpful. Both of us have made new friends and enjoy the studies a lot,”she added. A teacher at the school said that they girls were an inspiration to many, “Despite the grief and loss they have adjusted so well to their new life that all of us feel inspired. Army and the school provide them will all the comforts but it is truly their spirit to survive that has kept them going so well.”

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