RENEW in collaboration with culture department and health ministry organised a three-day skills training workshop to the drayangs employees that began July 19.

RENEW’s director of community outreach department, Meenakshi Rai (PhD), said that drayangs mostly employ youth. “There are numerous social issues in drayangs. As drayangs play a crucial role in promoting culture, we need to work on these issues.”

She said that the programme was aimed at empowering those working in drayang with the knowledge about communication and to help make their own decisions. “Awareness programmes have been conducted. However, these programmes do not make a difference as social issues continue to affect employees.”

About 30 participants attended the training that included culture-related sessions such as Driglam Namzha, conducts of singing and dancing, and sessions on adolescent-friendly health services, sexual harassment and behaviour change communication, among others.

RENEW’s executive director, Tandin Wangmo, said that most people fail to say ‘No’ in a right way. “People say yes and are passive to what others have to say as they don’t want conflicts and arguments.”

She said that being unable to put across one’s message, however, could breed internal conflict. “There could be implications such as stress, resentment, and feelings of victimisation.”

She said that when a third person is aware of the situation, he or she should distract and help the one who is being harassed.

“A bystander could help. If not, group interventions can also help diffuse the situation,” Tandin Wangmo said.

Chairperson of drayangs in Thimphu, Kezang Phuntsho, said that there weren’t much problems when it came to the inside workings of the drayang. “The difficult part is the stigmatisation of the people.”

Gaden Trophel’s manager, Sonam Choki, said that there wasn’t any situation related to sexual harassment as the drayang closes on time. “When our staff have problems regarding vehicles, we help drop them off.”

Of the numerous issues that she learnt from the workshop, Sonam Choki said it was phrasing words that were more assertive and not rude.

International Planned Parenthood Federation and Australian Aid funded the programme.

Rinchen Zangmo