Rada Wangmo and Tashi Dekar | Interns

In its 11th three-week youth programme, the Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) is engaging 163 youth in the capital.

The programme, which started on December 13 of last year with the aim to keep young people meaningfully engaged during their vacation, offers seven activities including reading, arts and crafts, basketball coaching, chess, dance, guitar, and coding.

A DYS coordinator, Tashi Tshomo, said the programme is targeted at children aged between 7 and 18. “Most youth are on their phones when their parents or guardians are away at work.”

She said most parents enroll their children in the programme because they have difficulty supervising them.

  A guitar lesson underway at the YDF centre

A guitar lesson underway at the YDF centre

A parent, Passang Gyem, 37, said youth should enroll in such activities as it helps them improve their skills.

A young participant, Sonam Tshomo, said the programme is helping her gain confidence, strengthen her reading abilities, and make new friends.

The Jungzhina Primary School Class Five student enrolled for the first time this year. “I will be sure to enroll every year.”

However, DYS officials said the number of people enrolled for the programme decreased this year compared to the previous years.

While some youths are attending tutoring sessions and participating in such programmes, many stay at home. Some may get involved in criminal activities.

Records maintained by police showed that there were 427 offences perpetrated by teenagers in Thimphu alone in 2021.