Lhakpa Quendren

The teachers and staff of Samtenling Primary School in Sarpang have gone beyond their regular teaching duties by embarking on the construction of a Royal Portrait Gallery within the school premises.

Over the past seven months, 16 teachers and 12 supporting staff dedicated their weekends to the construction of this gallery. Spanning 30 feet in width, the gallery proudly displays 3D designs of five Kings, Gyalsey, and Je Khenpo through 6-foot-tall portraits, all illuminated with a vibrant lighting setup.

Principal Rinzin Dorji emphasized that this project highlights the collective teamwork and diverse skills of the teachers and staff. He pointed out, “Without the need to hire laborers, teachers’ diverse skills greatly contributed to successfully constructing this gallery.”

This initiative serves as a valuable platform for learning and acquiring new skills. Principal Dorji shared his own experience, stating, “For example, I had no painting skills at all, but I could learn during the construction process. Similarly, others have learned masonry and cement work.”

Despite facing budget constraints, the team overcame challenges through financial contributions and labor from teachers and support staff. Rinzin Dorji explained, “The collective effort raised a funding total of Nu 300,000 for the project worth Nu 500,000. In addition to financial contributions from the teachers and support staff, principals from other schools in Sarpang also extended their financial support.”

He further highlighted the community spirit, saying, “The initial fundraising didn’t reach the target amount, and later, each teacher contributed an additional Nu 6,000. Some parents supported our initiative and contributed depending on what they could afford.”

On the opposite side of the gallery, there will be a display featuring the map of Bhutan. This educational initiative aims to instill a sense of history among students, allowing them to learn while walking or playing, as Principal Rinzin Dorji noted.

He also mentioned the school’s past initiatives, such as the construction of water prayer wheels and the installation of a statue of the god of wisdom (Jampelyang). Looking forward, the school plans to replicate this success by reciting Guru mantras and installing a Guru statue.

In essence, this Royal Portrait Gallery project not only showcases the dedication of teachers and staff but also provides a dynamic educational platform for skill development and historical understanding among the students.