Thinley Namgay

The Women Recycler of Bhutan, in collaboration with trainers, celebrated the successful completion of a two-week home-based waste recycling training programme for 15 women in Trongsa yesterday.

This initiative aims to empower vulnerable women and improve their livelihoods through the creation and sale of plastic products. With this batch, a total of 630 women from five dzongkhags have received similar training.

The participants, ranging in age from 34 to 56, come from marginalised sections of society.Through the training, they learned to craft a variety of items using plastics, equipping them with skills to generate additional income for themselves and their families.

Among the participants is Sherub Zangmo, a 44-year-old woman from Lhuentse who currently resides in Trongsa, where she operates a small roadside business. For Sherub, life took a challenging turn five years ago when she got divorced, leaving her to care for their three children.

Determined to secure a stable income and a better future for her family, Sherub embraced the training opportunity. She intends to leverage these skills to supplement her income.

Although she faces additional responsibilities due to her son’s autism and her fractured leg, which she sustained while receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, Sherub remains optimistic about her prospects.

In addition to its potential economic benefits, Sherub believes that the training holds broader significance. She hopes to raise awareness about the plastic waste problem in the country and promote sustainable practices among her community members.

Her sentiments align with the overarching goals of the training programme, which received funding from the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Chogyal Lhamo, the founder and trainer at Women Recycler of Bhutan, emphasised the importance of these women’s efforts in addressing both economic and environmental challenges. She said that the women will have the opportunity to sell their recycled products through the outlet established in Trongsa, with support from the UNDP.

The Women Recycler of Bhutan has  provided training to women in Trongsa, Thimphu, Paro, Dagana, and Chukha, and plans to expand its reach to Pemagatshel in the next phase of the programme.

The organisation currently faces budget constraints  which restrict  them from extending training to other areas. However, Chogyal Lhamo remains hopeful that additional support will enable them to fulfil their mission of empowering more women throughout the country.

As Bhutan takes progressive steps towards sustainability, initiatives like the Women Recycler of Bhutan play a vital role in addressing pressing environmental concerns and promoting economic independence for vulnerable women.

Photo: Women from 15 more dzongkhags are yet to receive waste recycling training