Interviewee Profile

Name: Sonam Khando
(Alias: No)

Gender: Female

Interview Age: 77

Date of Birth: 1938

Birthplace: Namla, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1960

Profession: Nomad

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 51N

Date: 2015-04-16

Language: Tibetan

Location: Tashi Palkhiel, Pokhara, Gandaki, Nepal

Categories: Culture and History

Keywords: childhood memories, clothing/weaving, food/drink, nomadic life, refugee in Nepal -- life as, trade, Utsang


Sonam Khando was born in Namla in Utsang Province. Her father died when she was just 4 years old and her mother worked for a wealthy family milking dri 'female yaks' to support her daughters. Sonam Khando recalls herding animals and all the aspects of producing dairy products. They had to protect the herds from wild animals such as wolves, foxes and large birds. Her family engaged in the process of spinning wool and weaving bags, clothes and tents during the wintertime. In the spring they were busy helping with sheep and goats giving birth and ensuring the newborn kids and lambs survived the bitter cold.

The nomads from Sonam Khando's region bartered their dairy products and salt they collected with farmers for grain at the fair that was held twice a year. She describes the system of measurements used when bartering different products such as grain for butter or cheese and for salt. Sonam Khando also talks about how traditionally women were not allowed to go to the saltpans to collect salt and families treated boys in a superior manner, but otherwise, women were allowed to do everything that men did.

Sonam Khando's family left Tibet after hearing that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had fled to India. She shares her joy of having had the opportunity of seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama and receiving teachings from him in exile.

Interview Team:

  • Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
  • Katharine Davies Samway (Interviewer)
  • Dhiraj Kafle (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Sonam Khando on 4/16/2015

Length: 01:10:01

© 2009-2018 Tibet Oral History Project. These translations and transcripts are provided for individual research purposes only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: Tibet Oral History Project, P.O. Box 6464, Moraga, CA 94570-6464. Privacy Policy