Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse

For many students, who are from economically disadvantaged families, winter vacation is an opportunity to earn some cash to meet their school expenses.

Students from the eastern dzongkhags of Trashiyangtse and Trashigang are taking up temporary jobs to maintain roads and construct houses.

Pema Thinley, 18, completed his class XII last year. He said he always worked at construction sites during winter vacations. “I will have to work more this time, as I need more money if I go to college.”

Pema Thinley from Khaling is helping in carpentry and masonry work. “I learn various skills.”

Another student, Thinley Norbu, said this is his temporary job. “I usually stay at home herding cattle and watching television.”

He carries cement and works with mixture machines. “Working with cement and stone is hard but I need the money.”

About 10 to 15 group of students are working along the Doksum-Trashiyangtse road with their parents. Three groups are engaged in Kholongchu Hydropower Project colony above Doksum town.

The students earn Nu 600 to Nu 1,000 a day.  They start their day at 6am.

A student, Samten Wangchuk, said he spends all the money for his stationery items, uniforms, and other necessities. “I learn different skills related to construction activities.”

Some students say they came in search of temporary jobs after the government announced that it would do away with central school facilities.

Parents in the east claim that there are fewer activities such as games and educational activities in the region to keep their children engaged during vacation. “Most of the students remain idle. Only a few children use their vacation meaningfully,” a parent said.