My name is Sonam Dolma. I was born in 1959. Although I am Tibetan, I was born in India. Because of the Chinese invasion, my parents escaped from Tibet. When I was seven-years-old, my mother passed away in a car accident. My dad was left to take care of me and my three siblings. When I was 16, my dad passed away due to illness. My grandma and aunt too care of us after my parents died.
Time had passed and I got married. A few years into my marriage I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy we named Palden. Life in India was really hard. Growing up as a refugee and the living conditions were always rough. One day, I got the opportunity to come to America. It was a hard decision because I didn’t want to leave my son who was one-year-old. After support from family and friends, I decided it was best to go. In 1993, I came to America. I lived with four roommates in order to save money. In the beginning of 1994, I visited India and got pregnant with my second child. Returning back to America, I worked two jobs. Even though I was pregnant, I often worked extra hours in order to afford to bring my family to America. Because of the strict immigration policies, it took me five years to bring them here. In 1998, my older son and my husband finally came to America. Ever since my husband came to America, our marriage became harder and harder. The situation became so serious that I took my boys and left home. With a social worker’s help, I found a woman’s shelter.
After three months, the social worker found us a low income place to live and we were finally able to move out of the shelter. This was when I became a single mother with two young boys. The hardest part about raising kids in America was dealing with my background and language problems. Compared to India, America has a completely different culture, language and way of life. On top of that, I had no family for support. I felt like I started a new life again. Without our low-income place to live, we probably would not have survived. We have been living here for 15 years and are grateful. Our dream was always to have our own place. We never thought it was possible until we found Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. After we were accepted, we felt there was still hope. My boys are everything to me and nothing would make me happier than to get a home that they always dreamed of having.