The courtyard of Centenary Youth village in Thimphu is filled with colours, music, songs, and different artworks. Winter vacation has been a busy time for students.

Three students are mixing paint. Pelden Tshomo picks up a sheet of paper and folds into two equal halves. She starts adding blue, purple and white color paints in the center of the half.

Folding the paper again, she starts rubbing the mixture. Her friend Karma Kinga Dema joins her to spread the mixture. Pelden Tshomo then unfolds the paper. She has a look of satisfaction in her face. A crowd has gathered to look at their work.

The final product is unique cloud-like art.

“The programme helped me meet new friends who shared their knowledge and skills. I learned this from her,” said Pelden Tshomo, pointing at her friend Karma Kinga Dema.

“I learned this from my friend Khando. She keeps herself busy all the time,” Kinga Karma Dema said.

Pelden Tshomo said she spends winter vacation reading books and watching television. “There is nothing else to do. The programme helped me learn new games, participate in new fun activities like painting.”

She added that such activities help keep students engaged meaningfully during vacations. “My parents are busy most of the time.”

The winter youth engagement programme that began on January 1 engaged more than 150 students of age between 8 and 18.

The students involved in the programme reach at the courtyard at 10:30 am and leaves home at 4:00 pm in the evening.

The programme is initiated by a volunteer group called Harmony Youth Volunteer that consist of more than 100 active young volunteers that initiate cleaning campaign, plantation works, and other volunteer projects on other times.

In the auditorium near the courtyard, Zhenphen Thayoe, 19, a youth volunteer, monitors a dance class. There are more than 60 students engaged in the dance class.

Pema Yangki attends dance class after finishing her basketball programme at 12:30 pm and goes home at the end of dance class at 4:00 pm.

“The winter activities helped me gain various skills and knowledge. It keeps me away from unhealthy activities and spend the hours meaningfully. It would also help me get selected for the national team,” she said.

More than 60 students are involved in the winter basketball coaching organised by Bhutan Basketball Federation. The students are taught basic and advanced skills.

Zhenphen Thayoe said students get to learn to play musical instruments, dancing and conduct bonding sessions. “This helped us learn how to deal with the kids. The programme help students spent winter vacation meaningfully. ”

Between January 5 and 7 at Buli Central School in Zhemgang, more than 130 harmony youth volunteers were involved in the first Megha Youth events.

The event initiated by 11 youth centres was aimed at promoting volunteerism among youth.

In Trashigang, students who are members of Police Youth Partnership Programme (PYPP), a winter vacation initiative of the Royal Bhutan Police, are busy.

Tashi Tenzin, the leader of the group, makes sure that his friends are spread across the community. “I learned a lot from the programme and also made many new friends.”

The programme, according to Tashi, has been enriching in terms of understanding the duties of law enforcer. The programme includes classes on traffic rules along with practical lessons.

Soon Tashi will leave for Gasa where he would be working as a carpenter at a construction site. “The little money I made from temporary jobs helped me during my school. Now that I’m done with school, if I make it to a college, I would need more money.”

Another student, Karma Dorji, from Trashigang Middle Secondary School, said there are a lot of winter activities for students in the dzongkhag. “Most of the times I stay at home watching television. This was a good experience and I would like to volunteer if there are similar programmes in the future.”

Nima and Younten Tshedup


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