Youth: At least 115 children from Trong in Zhemgang participated in the 3rd Winter Youth Programme in Zhemgang Central School.

Children from grade IV to XII participated in activies such as art, writing, photography, script writing and filmmaking, and fashion designing using household waste.

Besides youth-related issues, counselling and peer helping, the participants were also sensitised on disaster risks and how to remain safe in school and at home from man-made and natural disasters.

Artists from VAST Bhutan, local youth-based NGO Nahzoen Lamten, upcoming national fashion designers, and officials from Save the Children were the resource persons for the five-day programme that ended on December 16.

The collaborative initiative of Save the Children, Zhemgang Dzongkhag administration and education office was launched in 2014 to provide opportunities for the children and youth of Zhemgang to explore and identify their potential while productively engaging them during their winter vacation. In the past, similar programmes were held in Tingtibi and Panbang.

A class XII student, Dorji Rinchen, 17, said that he learned about script writing, shooting a movie and on the various roles and responsibilities needed for making movies. He also got to work as the movie editor in the short feature film called “Homework”, produced as part of the course.

“I am using my time well,” he said. “If I cannot succeed in academics, I will go into movie-making.”

Another participant, Sonam Dechen, said that she learned more about writing, particularly journalistic writing, as she often wrote for the school.

Assistant chief district education officer with Zhemgang, Sherab Jamtsho, said that the programme is a great opportunity for the children as they can learn skills that will help contribute towards gainful employment in the future.

“Even if one or two children can pursue the knowledge and information being shared and benefit in the future, we have succeeded in our endeavour,” he said.

Programme Development Coordinator for Save the Children, Bishal Rai, said that this year’s theme, ‘every last child,’ has the objective of reaching even the most deprived children of the community. “It is for those children who miss such opportunities due to their remote locations, poverty, or as a result of being differently-abled, among many other such reasons.”

The programme, which had been gaining immense popularity among children in Zhemgang, is expected to continue as an annual event but with better-packaged activities for enhanced impact and scope for the children, Bishal Rai said.

Dechen Tshomo