To engage children and youth in a meaningful way, a winter programme for children between ages seven and 24 began at Nazhoen Pelri in Thimphu yesterday.

With more than 200 participants, the programme attempts at making children and youth learn skills and explore interests besides being engaged during the break.

Youth Development Fund’s (YDF) programme officer, Tashi Deki, said it had been eight years since the programme was first held. “There are six categories for students which they can choose based on their interests. We also have few sessions where participants would be introduced about financial literacy and saving culture.”

She said that participants above 15 years would also have a chance to go to a field trip to Bhutan Institute of Well-being in Tshaluna where they would explore and learn about nature.

One of the participants, Tsheulthrim Tenzin, 14 said he was interested in traditional painting and so joined the programme before he left for Dagana. “I think such a programme is beneficial because students like me do not have anything else to do. It is also an opportunity to interact with new friends and learn more about painting.”

Activities include reading, arts and crafts, dance the story, forum theatre, hospitality, and passport to success where children would learn life skills.

A nominal fee of about Nu150 is charged as registration fee per participant.

Another participant, Kezang Namgyel would be studying in seventh standard next year at Dechenchholing Higher Secondary School. “I participated last year and knew about this programme through an aunt. Reading, I feel is important for everyone to improve one’s language. I want to improve my Dzongkha and English language.”

The 13-year-old said he also had a cousin with him in the reading category.

Another participant, Kuenzang Dolkar Dorji, 13 is in the forum theatre group. This is her second time participating in the programme. “It helped me be more confident. The activity allows us to throw away all of our reservations.”

She said she would be participating in the programme next year as well but would choose another activity.

YDF organised the programme that would end on January 11, next year.

Rinchen Zangmo