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Documentary on arranged marriage | "The Only Son" - by Simonka de Jong

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Published 2 years ago

"The Only Son" is a 2013 Dutch documentary, directed by Simonka de Jong. It is a story about the challenge of keeping Dolpo’s ancient culture alive as the area becomes less isolated. The film centers on Pema’s parents’ expectation that Pema will return to Dolpo, Nepal, when he completes his education, marry a Dolpapa woman, and manage the family’s land. As the only son, this is his role in Dolpo’s traditional culture. Pema is torn between his duty to the family and his desire to live the modern life that he now prefers. The film is primarily shot in Karang, a village at 13,000 feet in Upper Dolpo, one of the most remote areas of Nepal. It has been shown at a number of International Film Festivals.

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Two of Pema’s sisters are adopted: Dorje in America and Sumchog in the Netherlands. Both are artists and received bachelor in Fine Arts. Dorje is the author of, “Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal”. Dolma is currently studying in college and Tsering is finishing her high school and she will go to college next. Pema received his bachelor and master’s degree in the Netherlands and currently works there and visits Nepal often to spend time with the family. The second oldest sister, Chunzombuty, lives in Dolpo and is married and happy her children can go to their village school now. Due to health issues and Dolpo not having hospitals, the parents mostly stay in Kathmandu where they have more access to medical care.

The family says, “It was not easy to put our personal lives in the public but we hope our stories will inspire and educate others about the unique Dolpo culture and spread awareness the need for medical and educational resources in Dolpo, Nepal. It is very difficult to survive in Dolpo without proper health care. We lost five of our siblings and our sister, Chunzombuty lost three children. We are extremely grateful our parents made multiple a month-long trek from Dolpo to Kathmandu in order to save our lives from life-threatening health conditions. Without our parent’s bravery, most of us will not be a live today. We currently support and collaborate with several organizations that support people in Nepal especially in Dolpo with education and medical care. And we will continue to advocate health and education need for remote people. Thank you First Hand Films for helping us tell our stories!“.

Want to help?

- Rokpa International, provides shelter, food and education for Nepali children from poor backgrounds. Rokpa was the nonprofit that helped Pema and siblings. http://rokpa.org/

- Altitude Project, a Canadian nonprofit that supports schools in Upper Dolpo: https://altitudeproject.ca/

The Only Son - A Film by Simonka de Jong
A Moondocs B.V Production

2013 © Licensed by First Hand Films
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