Nim Dorji | Trongsa
Despite being uneducated, Ugyen Dema, 25, has become an entrepreneur and an employer today.
Born in the remote Monpa community of Trongsa, Ugyen never thought she would travel outside her village while growing up working in the farm and herding cattle. Today, she attends most of the events Tarayana Foundation organises and also the dzongkhag events.
She runs a mud pottery business established with the help of Tarayana Foundation near Langthel gewog centre.
Ugyen said she learnt pottery with 12 other friends five years ago and completed the five-month training in a month.
Today, she has employed two people from the community and pays them a daily wage of Nu 500.
With her pottery business, she also helps her family back in the village and makes a profit of Nu 50,000-60,000 a year.
The products are sold at events organised by Tarayana and also during local events within the dzongkhag.
Ugyen said she even makes pots based on orders from customers.
“I have a huge passion for making clay pot, as it helps to preserve and promote the traditional art in the country,” she said. She makes about 10 pots a day.
Although she has a machine, she said she prefers making pots with hand, as she can make better products.
Ugyen brings the raw material, mud, from Punakha and transporting it to Langthel is expensive, as she has to spend around Nu 35,000 as vehicle and labour charge. A truckload of mud lasts for more than a year.
Another challenge for Ugyen is that the pots broke while heating and transporting. “Firewood is another problem since it is not easily available,” she said.
Ugyen said that although she could not form a cooperative, she is willing to teach her skills to interested youth.