Other handiwork of tech institutes were also on display at the Zorig Day celebration

Innovation: Have a habit of forgetting to switch off lights when leaving for office?  Don’t worry.  The students of the Technical Training Institute (TTI) in Khuruthang, Punakha have a solution for it.

A mobile home switch, jointly developed by students of technical institutes, was the highlight of the 14th Zorig Day celebration in Punakha yesterday.

“You can switch off the light from office using your mobile phone,” said Passang Tshering, a 25-year old student, who displayed a “mobile-hoeme-switch product”.

“It’s a replacement of conventional switch using mobile phone that works through text messages,” Passang explained.  The text messages sent from the mobile phone will be received by a module fixed/installed at home, which also contains a SIM card (GSM), from where the messages is transferred to the control unit that then will control all the home appliances.

“Using this product, we can either put off or put on the lights and other home appliances,” the students explained.  TTI and a few graduates from the College of Science and Technology jointly developed the product.

Principal of TTI, Karma Dorji, said the final year at the TTI was more focused on entrepreneurship, and this was the first time such products made by students were exhibited.

He said the mobile-home-switch system came out successful, and now they would use it in the academic block, and later install in the hostels. “We are also planning to sell it to all the schools and others,” said the principal.  The project was a result of theoretical knowledge of CST students and practical knowledge of TTI.

Other products on display include a rotating chair, movable flower stands, and power tiller body, bhukari, farming tools, metal flowers, tents and electrical message boxes.

Tilak Bdr Pokwal, 21, and his friends have chosen a different method to make decorative lamps using used-vehicle tyres, empty bottles, tins, sand and stone and some rubber parts.

He said it takes from one day to two weeks to make one product, depending on the size, shape and type.  While flower stands, flowers and chairs takes one to three days, other products take weeks to make.

Loden SEED money launched

Coinciding with the 14th Zorig day celebration at the Technical Training Institute in Khuruthang, Punakha, Loden Foundation, a civil society organization, launched a special program called Student Empowerment through Entrepreneurship Development (SEED).

Loden Foundation’s executive director, Dorji Tashi singing the memorandum of understanding with the Khuruthang TTI and Samthang Technical institute, provided seed money of Nu 100,000 to the two technical institutes.

Dorji Tashi said the programme would be expanded in all technical training institutes including Zorig-Chusum in Thimphu and Tashi Yangtse.

He said to benefit from the grant, students have to come up with business proposals and compete, and the most viable projects would be supported.

“Students are expected to explore on the basic fundamentals of entrepreneurship to prepare them for self-employment,” he said.

Dorji Tashi said the programme hopes to contribute towards extra-curricular development of the students and inculcate entrepreneurial skills through exploring business opportunities, innovative thinking, confidence building and improvement of self-esteem.

He said the foundation considers this as a special programme to empower youth through entrepreneurship in order to prepare them for the real world.

Lashmi, 21, a mechanical engineering student, who made a rotating chair with metal rod, said, “Being able to make products using small tools gives us confidence towards thinking of starting our own business in future.”

Migma Golay, an electrical student, said he strongly felt that they could make a living selling the products they made at home with the help of hand tools. “We can make various products with transparent objects, waste and used glasses,” said Golay.

“We could also help reduce import of many electrical and mechanical products, and also work towards recycling of waste,” said Rinzin Wangchuk, a TTI student.

Teachers and students of TTI feel that, given an opportunity and support, they could develop many such products at home.

Meanwhile, minister for labour and human resources, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, who attended the celebration, also launched the institute magazine, entrepreneurship course for TTIs and IZCS, promotional video for TTI and a special program called Student Empowerment through Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) by Loden Foundation, a non government organisation.

The minister inaugurated the eco friendly building, a biogas plant and solar lighting.

By Dawa Gyelmo , Punakha