Samten Wangchuk |  Intern

A network dedicated to youth called the Young Bhutan Network (YBN) has 12 registered youth groups and about 20,000 youth as its members.

Operating under the direction of the youth centre division of the Department of Youth and Sport and supported by UNICEF, the network facilitates youth groups in the country to participate in various activities.

The network’s coordinator, Tashi Tshomo, said they help youths come and work together to achieve their common goals or interests. “If youths work individually, the activity might get discontinued or discouraged.”

She said the youth groups conducted awareness programmes in schools on topics such as sexual reproductive health and financial literacy, and also volunteer. “Our members plan to clean toilets in the town to celebrate World Toilet Day on November 19 and to sensitise people on the responsibility of individuals to keep toilets clean.

“We will also celebrate International Volunteer Day to emphasise the importance of youth volunteer activities this December,” she said.

A member of a group called Nazhoen Jangsem Focus, Tenzin Chophel, said his group educates youths on religious activities. “Among many other things we do for the youth, we also teach them to draw portraits of religious figures and construct stupas.”

He also said while youths are educated these days, many do not have core Bhutanese values in them. “We should learn our culture and take it forward.”

A member from Generation Y-Youth said that initially they only had plans to provide awareness on the child protection and rights of the child to be protected. “But now we have plans to collaborate with other organisations and agencies related to children in the future to help children be better protected in society.”

He said that he formed the group because of his own personal experiences of getting bullied at a young age. “I understand how one gets emotionally tortured in circumstances like those.”

The youth member said youths and children these days are prone to cyberbullying because parents provide them with electronic gadgets such as mobile phones at a young age.

“Parents rarely provide proper guidance on the use of phones for the right purposes,” he said. “It is the responsibility of every parent to guide their children on the use of social media.”

Edited by Tashi Dema