Environment: Nine schools from Thimphu showcased their sustainable projects for the EGO to ECO challenge held at Department of Youth and Sports on October 15.

The students, who were members of the Design For Change (DFC) club in their respective schools, came up with solutions to real life and every day problems of unsustainable consumption and lifestyles.

Kinzang Lhaden  and Sonam Chozom, both aged 12 from Babesa Primary School displayed puppets made from unwanted clothes, jewellery made from egg trays, table cloths and curtains made from old clothes, and teaching aids made from unwanted papers and egg trays, among others.

We wanted to give out a message on the importance of the three Rs, that is reduce, re-use and recycle, Kinzang Lhaden, dressed in an apron made from an old piece of cloth, said.

“Conducting such competitions are helpful to send out a message on the importance of recycling waste and keeping our environment clean,” she said.

A eleven year old Sabina Mongar and 12 of her friends from the Sunshine Primary School, displayed pictures and messages on the importance of bringing healthy packed lunches from home.

Today, many students are seen eating junk food at schools, which is not healthy, Sabina Mongar said. “We at the school have started with this project and now more and more students are bringing healthy packed food from home and eating less junk food at the school.”

Eating healthy packed food from home such as salads, milk and bread, vegetables and fruits are not only healthy but are also clean and stored with nutrients that are important for the body, Sabina Mongar said. “We also started growing organic vegetables at school such as lettuce for our own consumption.”

Organiser of the initiative, Pem Lama, said through this initiative, they hope to create a vibrant youth community of lifelong ambassadors for sustainable living.

Pem Lama with a few of his passionate friends had volunteered their time to implement the project.

“The students displayed various innovative ideas that were aimed to trigger and help others rethink their lifestyle and consumption habits, and find ways to consume mindfully with less negative impact to their own lives, the society and the environment,” Pem Lama said.

The most impactful and innovative ideas advancing sustainable lifestyle were recognised among the schools participating in the initiative, Pem Lama said, adding that the initiative empowers students to become lifelong ambassadors of sustainable lifestyle in their schools, families, and communities, cultivating commitment to care for oneself, each other, and the natural environment.

The Sustainable School award comprising of certificates and Nu 60,000 was given to ELC High School followed by the Progress and Promise award of Nu 25,000 to Changzamtog Lower Secondary School.

Eight students each from the participating schools who carried out sustainable projects in their home and communities were awarded Nu 3,000 each.

Education ministry’s secretary Karma Yeshey awarded the prizes.

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) supported the initiative.

Thinley Zangmo