Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

About 75 students from various schools in Samdrupjongkhar attended a free religious and cultural orientation programme at Dewathang Primary School.

Zhung Dratshang supported the programme that began on January 6.

A 12-year-old student, Jamyang Dema, said she learned a lot about history, religion, discipline, and culture. “Such programmes are not only important for students, but for parents and others as well,” she said.

For Tshewang Dorji, 16, this is his first orientation programme. “I promised to respect my parents and do away with my bad habits.”

Some participants said that it would help them more if the Ministry of Education and concerned authorities could include some components of the programme in the curriculum.

The programme coordinator, Jamyang Singay, said the programme was initiated by the Laytshok Lopon, Sangay Dorji, to engage students meaningfully by teaching various Buddhist practices.

He said the programme first began with students from Thimphu through Zhung Dratshang’s funding, where students learn various Buddhist practices like cause and effect (Lay-Judrey), loyalty (Tha-damtsi), prayers and their benefits for about two weeks.

Gyalsey Trulku Tenzin Rabgye, Tshukla Lopon Karma Rangdrol, Laytshok Lopon Sangay Dorji and officials from various agencies also gave virtual talks on a variety of topics.

More than 500 students have attended the annual programme until now.

Jamyang Singay said, “It’s important to give religion-related teachings and talks so that our youth can improve themselves and how they think from the beginning.”

He said that the programme was organised in Samdrupjongkhar to keep the students engaged in such programmes because they cannot go anywhere due to being in a high-risk area. “It’d also help them keep away from drugs and other prohibited substances.”

The programme, which was conducted in containment mode, ended yesterday.