Vacation: His Royal Highness Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, His Majesty’s Representative in the East, graced the closing ceremony of the third Winter Youth Engagement Programme (WYEP) at Gyalpoizhing Higher Secondary School on January 20.

A total of 678 girls, who attended the WYEP, received a specially-recorded video-message from His Majesty The King, during the closing ceremony. Speaking to the girls, His Royal Highness shared His Majesty’s farsighted visions, extraordinary concern and unconditional love for the youth in general and the girls in the camp in particular.

His Royal Highness said, “His Majesty attaches utmost importance to the welfare and development of the youth. When you are bestowed with full support and care by His Majesty, it’s very critical for you to study well and serve the country with utmost dedication and loyalty.”

His Royal Highness advised the students to work hard, excel in studies, and become role models, in thought, studies, conduct and dedication.

The students spoke about their experiences in the camp, and described how the programme had helped them build their confidence and self-esteem. They also presented an exhibition of livelihood skills and a cultural programme.

The WYEP is a visionary winter camp programme, designed to enrich and empower girls from eastern Bhutan. The programme was initiated upon the Royal Command of His Majesty The King in 2014, for the many students who spent their winter vacation working to supplement their family income and support their own education the following year.

The programme gives the girls an opportunity to spend their holidays learning useful skills, supplementing their school-education, and enjoying their vacation like other children elsewhere.

The three-week WYEP started on December 30, 2015. The participants comprised students from class IV to class XII from 69 schools of the six eastern dzongkhags.

In the WYEP, a wholesome approach was adopted so that the students would have the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills to enable them to grow personally, gain self-confidence and exposure and help them deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life, and live dignified lives. Therefore, the programme primarily focused on strengthening their English and building individual social skills through training in various areas such as life skills, scouting, career guidance, counselling, and health checkup.

They also learnt about information technology, home science, and crafts, and participated in recreational activities like art, dance, games and sports. The programme was further enriched through guest lectures on spirituality, drugs, nature and environment, adolescent reproductive sexual health, hygiene and sanitation.

In the first and the second years, 411 and 821 girls respectively attended the programme.

His Royal Highness granted Royal Soelra, including cash to each of the students to meet their educational expense in the coming academic year, from His Majesty The King.

Staff reporter