Student spreads compassion in Indonesia
Tenzin Jangchup only learned the full extent of what she signed up for once she got to Indonesia. Jangchup, a pharmacy student, was going to be working with PKBI-Bandung, the equivalent of Planned Parenthood of Indonesia. Her new boss laid out several options. Among those options were projects dealing with child labor, abortion and a number of equally daunting aspects of community health. Hearing all this brought tears to her eyes.
These social issues only existed on television, Jangchup thought. Surely such things couldn’t exist in the world. This beautiful country, home of Bali and gorgeous active volcanoes, this tourist magnet for Australians, also was home to a secret world of brothels, drugs and prostitutes. Every country has its dark side, Jangchup said, and as the months progressed, it would become a privilege to meet the people of Indonesia and work with them.
Jangchup was in Indonesia for two months last summer as one of 10 American students through the Freeman Indonesia Non-Profit InternshipProgram scholarship. Each student was paired with an Indonesian counterpart and sent to work for nonprofit organizations around the country. Jangchup decided to work in HIV and AIDS education and prevention in the city of Bandung, where she helped to provide free testing in the community.
Family was a lifeline for emotional support. Jangchup previously had studied abroad in India for six months, but had the support of relatives who still live there. Indonesia was new territory, and her parents were concerned. “I think I convinced them with the idea that this is what I want to do in the future,” Jangchup said. “I want to help people around the world because public health is a right, not a privilege. I think everyone should be informed.”
At one point, Jangchup and two fellow Americans, along with their Indonesian counterparts, organized an event to raise awareness about sustaining the city of Bandung socially, economically and environmentally. They showcased organizations that promote sustainability and worked to introducelocal students to ways they can help. All of this was done to encourage local students to carry on their work and keep the help going.
Her dedication comes from a deep need to pay back what she has gained from non-governmental organizations. Her grandparents were Tibetan refugees, and Jangchup herself was born in a refugee camp in India. She grew up in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Jangchup plans to earn her PharmD at NDSU along with a master’s degree in public health. She hopes to find a career in global public health. She wants to see different aspects of the world and keep showing compassion. Study abroad has helped open her up to new experiences.
“I think in life you have to find something you are passionate about and just go after it, and I realized this is something I am really passionate about,” she said.