YK Poudel  

Gender-based violence and domestic violence survivors are learning how to grow mushrooms at the Mushroom Training Centre at RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture, and Empower Women) Vocational Training Institute (VTI) at Wangsisina in Thimphu.

A participant and a caregiver at the centre, Rinzin Dema, said that the centre will serve as a training centre and commercial facility for mushroom cultivation, which will help supplement income for the shelter home.

“I did the mushroom cultivation and management training last year. It has helped us in developing our skills and start our businesses. The absence of adequate facilities and a centre was a major drawback. With this new facility, we are hopeful of better opportunities,” she said.

According to her, mushroom cultivation, especially oyster mushroom cultivation is a lucrative business in the capital. “We can grow it around four times a year,” she said.

The centre offers 11 training courses inclusive of mushroom cultivation and farm management training.

The RENEW VTI Training Facilitator, Karma Lodey Dema said that the training provided is helpful for the GBV and DV survivors who usually come with minimal knowledge of such business ideas.

“We have completed two sessions as of now. One on mushroom cultivation and another one on mushroom farm management for 15 participants,” she said.

Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, RENEW, Sonam Tenzin said that the centre is seismic-resilient with the mud-rammed structure, which is the first in Bhutan. “The training courses will be facilitated by RENEW VTI to the survivors of GBV and others residing at the centre,” he said.

JICA Bhutan Office constructed the model Mushroom Training Centre at Selekha, worth Nu 3.6 million which was handed over last month to RENEW VTI.