Youth: Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay attended the closing ceremony of the month-long 2nd Winter Youth Engagement Programme, yesterday.

The programme held at the Gyalpoizhing higher secondary school began on December 29. It was initiated upon the command of His Majesty the King.

The programme, which had 824 female student participants, was organised to meaningfully engage socio-economically disadvantaged girl students. It was also held to enhance their knowledge and skills, build confidence and competence, level the playing field with other students, and keep them away from vulnerable situations.

The participants were aged between 14-20 years and studying in classes III-XII in 90 schools of six eastern districts.

His Majesty the King granted an audience to the students, which was followed by His Majesty participating in a basketball match and attending a campfire event, on January 19. His Majesty the King visited the camp again on January 20.

Besides camp expenses and other soelra, His Majesty the King granted cash soelra of Nu 6,000 each to the students to meet their educational expenses in the coming academic year.

At the closing ceremony, lyonchhoen highlighted His Majesty the King’s visions, extraordinary concern, unconditional love and care for the youth in general, and for the girls attending the camp in particular.

Lyonchhoen inspects some of the students’ art pieces

To pay gratitude to His Majesty the King, lyonchhoen advised the students to study well, to share the knowledge and skills they have gained from the programme with their family members at home and friends in schools. He also advised them to cultivate reading habits.

Some of the primary activities at the camp included strengthening English language skills, building individual social skills through various youth health developmental programmes, information communications technology, knitting, basket, candle and soap making, and recreational activities like art, dance, games and sports.

According to a press release from the Royal Office for Media, the camp was enriched with guest lectures on spirituality, drugs, nature and environment and other topics related to adolescent reproductive and sexual health, and hygiene and sanitation.

A class X student of Rangjung HSS, Kuenzang Peldon said she felt proud to be one of the girls who could participate in a programme of this kind.

“After having attended the camp for the first time, I feel I can face difficult challenges hereafter,” she said, adding that it was because every activity conducted was educative and informative, which helped build up confidence and knowledge.

Another participant from Gongthung MSS, Rinchen Yangzom, said the advice shared by lyonchhoen inspired her to reach for more and his real life experiences motivated her to work hard.

“I came to know about the five visions of our beloved King and learned more about our country,” she said. “Lyonpo Dorji Choden’s words brightened and widened my wisdom,” she added. “She being the first female minister in the country is a role model and inspiration for all young girls like me.”

Meanwhile, 18 monks of the Gyalpoizhing dratshang conducted a grand kurim (dolma yul-dhog) for the wellbeing of His Majesty the King, country and students who attended the programme. Zhabtens to His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo were also offered.

The press release stated that a medical team from the Mongar regional referral hospital and Gyalpoizhing conducted a comprehensive health check-up that included physical, dental, eye and ear. After the screening 184 children were referred to the Mongar hospital for various ailments such as anemia, ulcer, eye and dental problems, and 87 of them were provided with eyeglasses.

Two mass bathing programs for all the children, one on the third and the last day of the camp were also organised. Female teachers trimmed students’ hair. Children were provided with nail cutters and cutting of nails was made a routine affair.

A survey was conducted to obtain more information on issues related to their family, social environment, socio-economic status, and psychosocial issues like substance abuse, violence and suicides. A total of 139 children were identified, whose profiles have been prepared for submission for kidu.

His Holiness Je Khenpo Thrulku Jigme Choeda visited the camp on January 22 and conferred a teaching on taking refuge in the Triple Gem, importance of practicing the Buddha Dharma, avoiding bad habits and cultivating good ones, being grateful to His Majesty the King and importance of fulfilling His Majesty’s aspirations.

Works and human settlement ministry Dorji Choden, attended the opening ceremony of the camp. National Council chairperson Dr. Sonam Kinga and speaker Jigme Zangpo also visited the camp.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo, parliament members, dzongkhag officials and local leaders from Mongar, dzongdas of the six eastern districts, attended the closing ceremony.

Tashi Phuntsho, Mongar


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