A student of Jampeling Central School in Kanglung, Trashigang, TashiDorji, earned Nu 9,000 last winter by ferrying electric poles, contributing manual labour at a construction site and road site.

He said he could only buy a pair of shoes and a backpack with the money. “I gave half of my savings to my father, but he wasted it on alcohol.” 

The 21-year-old student said he only has Nu 500 with him now. “I could have done so many things with that money if I kept it to myself.”

It was an eye-opener for Tashi Dorji when officials from the Bank of Bhutan in Trashigang visited his school on April 12 to help students open saving accounts with the bank.

“I always thought that only rich people had saving accounts with the bank,” he said. “Whenever I get money, I’m going to deposit it in my account from now.”

He said the bank officials also told him he would earn interest for his savings.

Tashi Dorji is not alone. 

About 360 students of the school opened their first saving account with BoB that day. 

Another student, Tshering Dorji, said that opening a saving account with the bank would reduce the risk of theft cases in hostels. “We hide our money in various places but there is always someone who would has seen it,” the 19-year-old said. “This initiative would not only secure our little money, but also help us earn interest.”

Bank officials said the initiative is a part of programme for Global Money Week that is celebrated worldwide in the first week of March every year.    

“Since we could not celebrate the Global Money Week last month because of some unavoidable circumstances, we are doing it now,” an official said.

He said the initiative is in line with the bank’s strategy to take its services to the doorsteps of the customers. “It is not just to help the youth in making wise money decisions but also to create awareness on saving culture and its importance.” 

Chief dzongkhag education officer, Phuntsho, said that the initiative would make money transaction for parents easier. 

“Parents can now directly deposit the money to the student’s account without having to rely on a third person to deliver the money,” he said. “It would also encourage saving culture among the students and reduce the fear of carrying cash around.”

Bank officials said that a minimum of Nu 100 would be required to open the account. The bank would provide an interest rate of 5 percent annually on the deposits. 

Similar events were also observed at Rangjung CS and Trashitse Autonomous Higher Secondary School in Wamrong yesterday.

Younten Tshedup | Kanglung