Lone woman mechanic of Mongar

Dechen Pelden is a highly sought-after car mechanic in Mongar

It has never been easy for women to enter a profession dominated by men, especially if the job entailed tough working conditions that often tested the limits of oneโ€™s physical and mental endurance, but this has not discouraged Dechen Pelden, whose dedication to her trade has made her a highly sought-after car mechanic in Mongar.  

Mostly self-taught, the 28 year-old single mother has devoted the last eight years to hone her mechanical skills, which she was forced to take up after the sudden death of her husband in an accident in 2013.   

โ€œMy daughter is studying in class two and I am doing it for her. Life is a struggle when you are a single parent,โ€ she said, adding her male colleagues were instrumental in helping her acquire the skills she boasts of today. 

However, in the initial months of her employment, she had to brave a lot of difficulties, especially trying to cope with the working environment and learn everything from the basics but still she persevered without looking back.

Being the eldest in the family, she dropped out of school after completing the seventh standard to help her parents who live in Trongsa. After her marriage though, she relocated to Mongar with her husband.    

Although her salary is decent, she is still happy to continue working in the same field. 

โ€œThe salary is sometimes insufficient to cover all my expenses, but I am not complaining as I love what I do for a living,โ€ she said, adding she learned repair and maintenance of auto parts from her fellow mechanics, who have always provided her with a safe working environment.

But there have been instances where a few people have criticized her decision to become a mechanic, mainly because of her gender. But overall people have been supportive.

โ€œMany people have in fact told me that I stand out as an example to other women, especially to my daughter, and this encourages me to keep going,โ€ she added.

Today, she has become proficient in repairing auto parts and fixing other major damages sustained by a vehicle yet her quest for learning is not easily satiated as she wishes to explore further into the world of mechanics.   

โ€œThere are almost four workshops and two car washers, but she is the only woman there,โ€ a local resident said, โ€œIt is a pleasant surprise to see a woman mechanic especially when you tend to associate this particular profession with man.โ€

Currently, she works as a mechanic in Newlee Automobile Workshop in Mongar.

Tenzin Lhamo from Mongar