To promote and encourage volunteerism among youth, the first national youth festival themed ‘be the change you want to see’ was held from July 21 to 22 in Thimphu.

The festival was expected to enable youth-led groups to share their work, achievements and challenges in the field of volunteerism. The event was held to showcase the youth-led group’s work, learn about their experiences, challenges, and achievements and to encourage other youth volunteers.

A total of 225 youth volunteers from nine youth-led groups participated in the festival.

A youth volunteer said that the national youth festival is about celebrating youth as independent individuals of different idea who has come together for a common cause.

The youth-led groups also put up stalls featuring their achievements, and games and activities to raise fund for their groups. The groups were also engaged in cultural performances and literary activities.

The volunteers said that a youth guideline has been developed to improve coordination and to ensure effective utilisation of limited resources by reducing duplication of activities and services provided for young people.

Tashi Tshewang sharing his experience as a youth volunteer said that through volunteering he learnt a lot and got many opportunities such as attending youth forums and participating in exchange programmes.

He is a member of y-peer Bhutan and a volunteer of harmony youth volunteer groups.

He said that time management is critical to successful volunteering as people already have so many other things to do. “However, if you can pull it off, you will find the experience of serving others to be the most rewarding. Volunteering does not only allow you to offer services but also to learn and discover new thing.”

Education secretary Karma Yeshey said volunteering it is important to have groups to organise and help others in a bigger way.

He said that volunteers befit the theme of the festival as they have helped many people. “When you do not like certain things, when you think that certain things need change you do not want to sit back and rumble about it.  You come forward and do things about it so you are the change.”

Karma Cheki