** This interview about life in Tibet was conducted by the Tibet Oral History Project. This non-profit organization aims to preserve the history and culture of the Tibetan people by interviewing elderly Tibetan refugees about life in Tibet before and after the Chinese invasion. Learn more at http://www.TibetOralHistory.org.
** Interview Summary: Dekyi K. Dongretsang was born in Lhasa and was the daughter of an employee at the British Mission. As a young girl her family moved to Kalimpong in India where they had an estate with a big house and orchard. At the age of 6 she was admitted to St. Joseph's Convent. She fondly recalls those days of school in Kalimpong and visiting Gyangtse in Tibet during holidays until the Chinese occupation prevented them from returning to Tibet from India. As a result of her good education and knowledge of the English language, Dekyi K. Dongretsang was asked to work as a translator for the Tibetan refugees who were resettled in Bylakuppe in south India in 1960. She gives a detailed account of her work, the hardship endured by the first Tibetan refugees in Bylakuppe and how they managed to survive in a totally new country with harsh climate and a different way of life. Dekyi Dongretsang describes the Tibetans' early years in exile, including the education of the children, formation of settlements, health problems, shortage of funds and educated staff for the government. She became a staff member of the Tibetan Government-in-exile established in Dharamsala and gives details about her tenure in different offices and their functioning. She spent many years helping to document the personal accounts of what Tibetan refugees has endured under Chinese rule. After more than 35 years of service to the Tibetan Government, which she terms as most satisfying, and Dekyi Dongretsang moved to the United States.