Chhimi Dema

Forty-five persons with disabilities (PWDs) are undergoing training on spa and massage, bakery and tailoring in Thimphu.

The labour ministry organised the five months critical skills training in collaboration with Disabled People’s Organisation.

The trainees are hopeful that the training would help them make a living.

Sangay, 43, from Wangdue, said that the training was an opportunity to make a better future for himself.

He is visually impaired and worked in a hotel as a musician. With the hotel industry hit by the pandemic, he has been unemployed.

“A skilled individual will have opportunities everywhere,” he said. He is hopeful that after completing the training, he would find a job.

For Tshering Norbu, 26, from Tashigang, the training  is an opportunity to learn.

“We have theory and practical classes on spa and massages,” he said. “I learn something new every day. I am also happy to see my old friends from Muensulling Institute in Trashigang.”

Meanwhile, the trainer, Dechen Pem at the Norbu International Wellness Institute, said that the trainees show excitement and interest to learn.

“It is challenging to teach the trainees because some of them are illiterate and we have to translate the English module to Dzongkhag,” she said.

She also said they do not have resources such as braille. “Although the trainees face challenges, they keep learning.”

The training was started a month ago. The trainees were provided food and accommodation along with a monthly stipend of Nu 1,500.

In NLD Training Institute in Olakha, Sonam Choden, 21, waits eagerly near the oven to taste the pizza that she made. She enrolled herself for bakery training.

Her left hands and legs were paralysed after brain surgery in 2016.

“Employment opportunities for PWDs are rare,” she said. “After the training, I hope I can open a bakery and make a living for myself.”

Another trainee, Tandin Dorji, is also hopeful about opening a bakery after completing the training. “I waited eagerly for the training to commence.”

He said PWDs should make the best use of every opportunity to learn new skills and hone their talents because skills and talents at their disposal would help them be independent. “Once employers recognise that we are a person with disabilities, then they become doubtful about employing us.”

At the Lekdup Skills Development Institute, 15 trainees are learning tailoring.

Dorji Tamang, 29, from Tsirang, said that he wanted to make a living from tailoring.

He worked as a driver in a hotel, but lost the job after he met with an accident. He also suffered from leg injuries. “I am happy today. This training is the start of a new life for me,” he said.

Edited by Tashi Dema