Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

When the Wangdue Dzong reconstruction project management announced 30 vacancies for casual workers on September 17, last year it came as a relief to 21-year-old Kinley Wangchuk.

From Thinleygang, Punakha, Kinley Wangchuk had then been unemployed for four months.

“I worked with Construction Development Corporation (CDCL) for four years,” said Kinley Wangchuk. After that, he found himself looking for a job.

With around 10 youth working with the dzong reconstruction project, the project witnessed a good turnout of youth for the first time since reconstruction began after the fortress was completely destroyed by a fire in June 2012.

Project engineer, Dorji, said that prior to the pandemic, there were just three youth at site.

Among the new workers are youth as young as 19. Most are school dropouts.

Twenty-two-year-old Kharka Nath Rai said that he was waiting for the technical training institutes to reopen (TTI) and wished to join one of the institutes. “I completed class XII from Gelephu last year. Rather than staying home, it is better to work somewhere.”

Dawa, 20, joined work with six other friends (mostly young girls) after learning about vacancies in September. “Parents also supported my decision,” Dawa said.

“For women, work includes carrying mud and stones,” said Yeshi Wangmo, 23.

Workers report to the site at 7:15am and leave for home and their camps at 5pm.

Kinley Wangchuk, who earns Nu 8,000 monthly, said: “I save around Nu 3,000 and rest goes for expenditure.”

Project engineer Dorji said that the management had plans to give the youth promotion from February.

This is because, the workers have been performinv well at work.

Today, casual workers earn Nu 280 a day. Promotion to category four means their daily wage would increase to Nu 421 (more than Nu 12,000 monthly).