About 90 participants gathered for the third youth summit, which the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) organised in Thimphu.

The five-day summit, which began yesterday, intends to make the participants realise their potentials and develop action plans towards achieving it.

Themed ‘youth as change makers’, the summit aims to providing a platform to the youth for interaction with young leaders to inspire, discover and explore one’s potential in a democracy.

A BCMD press release states that it is also providing a platform to discuss and exchange ideas on social issues in the country.

On the first day of the summit, the participants, divided into six groups. The groups on the second day shared stories of positive changes they made in the lives and communities around them. The stories include incidences of encouraging friends to develop confidence, helping a 13-year-old heart patient, cleaning a stream in the community and changing one’s opinion towards an issue.

A class 10 student of Yebilabtsa Central School in Zhemgang, Pema Yangzom, said that her initiative to start a small cleaning campaign in Yebilaptsa helped the community. “The people in the community started to do it themselves after I initiated it,” she said.

Executive director with Kidney Foundation, Tashi Namgay, said that bringing change in the society should begin by bringing change in the family.

One of the facilitators, Karan Bir Urao, said that the summit has helped and engaged him in various activities last year. “BCMD has invested knowledge and time in me. I feel responsible to help them back.”

He said that being a student, volunteerism must be appreciated and taken up to benefit the society and the individual.

BCMD’s executive director, Siok Sian Pek Dorji, said that the summit mandates all participants to involve so that the students can develop confidence and speak their mind. “They will figure out one issue they care about and at the end they will develop an action in a group about it,” she said.

The summit expects youth to realise their potential in shaping the communities with plans and small projects.

BCMD also trained around 12 people from various occupations as facilitators for the summit on July 23. CISU Denmark and United Nations Children’s Fund funded the summit.

Phurpa Lhamo