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photo courtesy of Wiro Felix

The Only Son

The Only Son is a 2013 Dutch documentary about the family of Dorje Dolma/Yak Girl. It is a moving 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 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 stunningly beautiful film is primarily shot in Karang, a village at 13,000 feet in Upper Dolpo, one of the most remote areas of Nepal. It was directed by Simonka de Jong and has been shown at a number of International Film Festivals. It is licensed by First Hand Films.


Two of Pema’s sisters were adopted: Dorje moved to America and Sumchog to the Netherlands. Both are artists. Dorje is the author of, “Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal”. Pema received his bachelor and master’s degree in the Netherlands and currently works there. He is a gifted photographer, you can see his photos on Instagram. All three of them are committed to helping children in their native Dolpo. The two younger sisters are both students in Kathmandu, Dolma is in college and Tsering is finishing high school and is looking forward to college. The second oldest sister, Chunzombuty lives in the Dolpo, is married and her children are attending their village school. She and her husband are very active volunteers, and supporters of the school, and are determined that all of the children in their village will be educated. Due to health issues and the lack of medical care available in the Dolpo, the parents are currently in Kathmandu where they have more access to medical services. If there was a hospital in the Dolpo they would live in the Dolpo. Every time someone visits their home they are asked when their kids are getting married!

The family says, “We hope our stories will inspire others and will help the Dolpo people with their medical and educational needs.”

For more updates visit DorjeArts or follow Dorje on facebook 


We were honoured to screen this film at the
Nelson Civic Theatre as part of Dorje’s 2019
book tour of the Kootenays. Tickets were $11.
All proceeds went to the people of the Dolpo

photo courtesy of Wiro Felix

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

― Albert Einstein