Lhakpa Quendren  | Gelephu

To promote health and education for the growing youth population, Bhutan Youth Development Fund (YDF) inaugurated a futsal turf, Nazhoen Pelri hub, in Gelephu yesterday.

Bhutan Olympic Committee will complete the laying of artificial grass by next week. The soft opening ceremony was held early since there are no auspicious days in the next month, according to the officials.

The new hub, once open, is expected to provide a safe, supportive environment for young people to learn, grow, and thrive through a wide range of facilities and programmes.

YDF’s chief of social enterprises, Kinley Tenzin, said that the facility would enhance well-being and community engagement. “We already have the YDF programme in Gelephu and futsal would further enhance the reach.”

He said the facility is also expected to contribute to reducing youth-related issues such as unemployment and substance abuse, among others. “Young people in different dzongkhag face multiple problems and Gelephu has its own youth problem. These problems are in fact increasing.”

“We did a random trial survey in Gelephu before designing the project. We came to know that futsal is one of the most popular sports,” he said.

Focusing on a cross-subsidisation model, the facility would charge a minimal fee to sustain the project and fund other free programmes.

Kinley Tenzin said that the motive of the initiative is to collaborate and provide services. “We are not here as a competitor and to make money because our business model is different. There is no profit maximisation motive.”

There are six futsal turfs in Gelephu including one in Samtenling Gewog.

Located near Gelephu Higher Secondary School, the 7-side futsal court is 54m long and 33m wide, which can accommodate more players in a team on the field. The hub features a single-storey building with a cafeteria, an open-air lobby, office space, and a washroom.

The hub would provide several youth development programmes, including community volunteering, skilling, social entrepreneurship, and incubation facilities, enabling young people to gain training and resources to develop skills and start their own businesses.

The futsal turf was completed in six months including one month extension period at the cost of Nu 13.5 million.