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rinchen-bomDharamshala, India: - 35-year-old Rinchen Bom from Amdo, eastern Tibet works at a temporary hire employment center in McLeodganj, Dharamshala. His work varies according to the town's needs - ranging from jewelry-making to masonry painting, cooking, washing dishes, and other small jobs.

The center, which employs around 50 staff, provides opportunities for Tibetans who have no livelihood and little education, and who have come to India in search other work.

"There is usually work to do but on occasions I might have a day off," said Bom.

In his former life in Amdo, Tibet, he worked as a nomad, tending to yak and sheep. Most of his time was spent in the mountains protecting the community from wolves and other dangerous predators.

"We rely on the yak to make tents and the sheep to make traditional Tibetan clothes.

"My mother and one older brother still live in Tibet as nomads. Life here in Dharmshala is completely different. "

Bom said that, in Dharmshala, education is very important, whereas a nomad in Tibet needs different skills.

"My skills are gathering Yak and sheep, making tents and, with women, they make traditional Tibetan clothes." He added that, in Dharamsala, it is important to speak different Tibetan dialects and be able to read and write.

Bom's journey from Tibet entailed two months of walking. He came to Dharamsala because he wanted to receive His Holiness the Dalai Lama's blessing.

The thing he misses most about Tibet is racing horses. During his childhood, the community held an annual horse racing competition in the summer, with around 200 participants. Bom casually stated, "I win many times. I miss Tibet and the mountains I used to live on."

He is currently applying for a visa from New Delhi, to return to Tibet with his wife and four children.

Bom hopes that, when he returns to Tibet, he and his wife will return to the nomadic life, whereas his children will live with his city-dwelling grandparents, and be able to continue their education.

"I feel it is my responsibility and duty to give them the opportunity for an education. I do not want them to struggle because they did not receive an education, like I did.

"After 12 years of school, my children can decide whatever it is they want to do with their future."

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