Twenty-six young volunteers with two youth networks, Bhutan Youth Development Fund’s Y-VIA and RENEW’s DAISAN, attended a rollout programme on child protection and youth participation at Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School (YHSS) last week.

Besides child rights and protection, students from YHSS, Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School and Motithang HSS were educated on the importance of planning and executing the plans, having safety plans for themselves, and responding and preventing violence against children during the four-day programme that ended on October 7.

The regional coordinator with Y-VIA and also the programme facilitator, Joytshna Gurung, said its important to learn how to plan and execute the plan because no matter how equipped one is with knowledge and skills, if he or she does not have proper planning, ideas fail.

A class 11 student of YHSS, Kinley Tenzin, said he joined Y-VIA this year because he was interested in its activities.

“We were taught how to differentiate between our rights, needs and wants,” Kinley Tenzin said. “I learned that need is more important than want because we can survive without our wants. I also learned that with rights comes responsibility.”

The participants were also introduced to child rights articles and childcare and protection act.

Kinley Tenzin said the benefit of participation is that it gives him a sense of belongingness and helps develop his potential and capacity. “I also learned about the child right convention (CRC) mandala.”

Joytshna Gurung said the concept of the CRC mandala is like the religious mandala. In CRC mandala, the child is placed in the centre and plays a significant role. When the child is placed in the centre, he or she realises his or her strengths and potential and then the child relates to his or her family, other stakeholders and, after relating to the community, the child relates to the nation and then globally.

“This is how a child at a micro level can make a significant impact. Once the child knows his or her strength, he can really participate in the society,” she added.

Y-VIA and DAISAN coordinators from the dzongkhags were given child right workshop in May last year in Paro. The coordinators will be conducting similar programmes in their respective dzongkhags.

“We plan to have more participants for the programme next year,” Joytshna Gurung.

The programme was supported by UNICEF.

Dechen Tshomo