Chhimi Dema

Pratap Darjee was 13 years old when he was caught for burglary. As a juvenile convict, he was sent to Youth Rehabilitation Development Centre (YRDC) in Tsimasham, Chukha.

While serving his prison term at YRDC, he met counsellors from Nazhoen Lamtoen, who made him realise the importance of life.

“I also found out what I have to do in my life and how much potential we have to change other’s life,” he said.

He is 23 years now and is a musician in the making. He is also a father and makes a living working part-time in a meat shop in Thimphu and composing songs.

“All that I am today is because of the support I got from Nazhoen Lamtoen,” he said. “The organisation helped me to start my life again.”

He said that he feels lucky to have been caught at the first instance of the crime. “If not, I could have committed worst crimes.”

Pratap had a difficult childhood.

With three siblings and a single mother supporting them, he said he could not get many things he wanted in an urban place where many children got as desired.

He went under depression after his father passed away and got into drugs. “Everything fell apart after that. I lost my childhood to it,” he said.

Pratap said there were moments when he contemplated about helping those who were passionate about music.

Today, Pratap is working towards his dreams of setting up a music studio.  Nazhoen Lamtoen has helped to promote his music and establish the studio.

Going by the stage name Naku, Pratap is equipped with sound editing and music composition skills.

There are 41 songs that he composed and plans to release once he completes his music studio. “Despite Nazhoen Lamtoen’s help, I am short on capital,” he said.

Earning was much easier in the past two years, he added. He earns about Nu 7,000 for a song he composes.

He said he is working hard to achieve his dreams so that he could help others to have an easier path towards their journey than his. “There will always be obstacles in life but we have to keep striving.”

He said he is happy and lucky that he got another chance in life. “I want all youth who are into drugs and other problems to understand that you can overcome anything.”

Pratap said it is not possible to become successful overnight and continuous effort is necessary to become somebody.

Studies show that earlier investment in an individual ensures greater chances of preventing violent behaviours through adulthood. “Youth violence can be prevented and young offenders rehabilitated through appropriate policies and interventions.”

Nazhoen Lamtoen is dedicated to reintegrate youth who came in conflict with the law and completed their prison sentencing from YRDC.

Edited by Tashi Dema