The new centre will eventually be able to accommodate 200 boarders

Service: With a new boys hostel and academic block, Draktsho East in Kanglung in Trashigang can now enrol more students.

The one-storey structure, which was inaugurated on September 4, will serve as a permanent centre for the differently abled.

Draktsho East has been operating out of a rented house and paying Nu 30,000 a month.

With a girls hostel under construction, the new centre, which was earlier located in Rongthung chiwog will now be shifted to Kanglung. The new structure will have structures especially constructed for differently-abled students.

Draktsho East principal Karma Garab Dorji said that once all construction activities are completed, the centre will be able to take in more students wanting to enrol in Dratsho East.

“With the lack of space in our centre, many a times we had to reject many students even if we wanted to give them admission,” said Karma Garab Dorji. “There are also incidences where many parents demanded explanations and forced our staff to enrol their children.”

The new centre has six classrooms while the boys hostel will be able to accommodate around 100 students.

The principal said this was possible because of the Japanese government’s support which provided a grant based on the urgent need to expand the premises.

The Japanese government provided around Nu 5.6 million or a little over USD 84,200 for the construction of one academic block and the hostel.

“The new centre is a great advantage for our children because the premises is entirely designed for the (differently abled) and there is access for wheelchairs and toilets especially designed for the students,” said Karma Garab Dorji. “Before it was difficult for the students to travel within the premises itself and also, the other reason we couldn’t accept new enrolments was because of absence of such facilities.”

The principal added that in the long run they will further improve the spaces, toilets, and lighting facilities, and ensure 100 percent wheelchair accessibility.

He added that while three buildings were initially planned for, a portion of the fund had to be used to construct walls to prevent landslides behind the boys hostel and academic block. The construction of the academic block and boys hostel came to around Nu 5.1 million.

“The Government of Japan hopes this project will contribute to improving the educational and general living environment of the economically and socially vulnerable persons with disabilities, as well as contribute to their empowerment,” it is stated in a press release from the Japanese embassy in New Delhi. “Through the GGP (Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects) Scheme, the Government of Japan looks forward to further developing the relations of friendship and cooperation between Japan and Bhutan,” it is added.

The girls hostel, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year is also expected to accommodate around 100 students.

The Federal Republic of Germany is funding the girls hostel.

“With all these we’re looking forward to offer our service to all the children who come to our centre especially from the east, with what we couldn’t offer before.”

With six teachers including a principal, the centre today has about 70 students.

Draktsho East was established in April 2010.

The Trashigang dzongdag inaugurated the centre.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar