Children of Retsangdung village of Kanglung gewog in Trashigang have found a productive way of spending their winter vacation.

The children, mostly students of Kanglung Primary School, make the steep climb of more than 9kms from their homes to sell farm produce to Kanglung satellite town residents and Sherubtse college students.

Sangay Wangmo, 13, brings along her two younger brothers, who help her carry the farm produces.

She said she sells fresh vegetables from her farm in the college areas when her parents are at work. “I don’t get time to go out and play with my friends, as I have to hurry home and bring what my mother harvests for sale.”

Sangay Wangmo said she enjoys selling vegetables as it helps her parents make some extra income. “As the eldest in the home, I have to bear the responsibility.”

Her father, Sangay, said his daughter is a responsible girl and ensures she studies too.

He said his three children usually reach home at 8pm and sometimes at 9pm. “I go to pick them on the way when they get late.”

Sangay Wangmo said selling vegetables helped her decide her ambition. “I want to become a businesswoman when I grow up. I know the calculations well.”

She said she earns Nu 1,000 to Nu 1,500 in summer when college students are around and Nu 500 to Nu 700 when the college is closed. “In winter, I sell vegetables to lecturers and shopkeepers in Kanglung town.”

Sangay Wangmo’s mother, Cheten Zangmo, said when she doesn’t have work, she goes and sells the vegetables so that her children get time for study and homework.

The money the family makes from selling vegetables is used to meet the home expenses and buy necessities for children

The college students also prefer buying from the children, as it gives access to fresh and organic vegetables. “We don’t have to go out to buy vegetables especially when we are busy with our assignments,” a college student, Sonam Wangmo, said.

A college student, who do not wish to be named, said that he was surprised to see the children in their school uniform selling vegetables from door to door at night.

Meanwhile, the collegians give their little friends from the village clothes, shoes, and bags. Some students even treat them to tea and biscuits.

Sonam Choden