Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia | Society | South Asia

This Nepali Mother Sold Her Kidney to Raise Children

“I sold my kidney 12 years ago… I had children but no house for them to live in.”

By Vishal Arora for

Phulmaya Tamang, a 45-year-old mother of five, lives in the Hokse village of Kavre District, about a three-hour drive from Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu. Like the majority of the residents of this village, Phulmaya sold her kidney, in exchange for an amount that would help raise her children. The village is known as “Kidney Valley” or “Kidney Bank.”

While Phulmaya sold her kidney about a decade ago, recent media reports suggest that kidney smugglers are back — years after a crackdown by authorities supposedly ended organ trafficking in this extremely poor district.