With participants sharing their project proposals to bring about change in their communities, the third youth summit ended yesterday at the Royal Thimphu College, Thimphu.

The proposals targeted diverse areas such as the environment, education, health and social services. A project to educate nuns in Bhutan with basic education was aimed at making the nuns understand reading and writing for their benefit. The group’s facilitator, Sonam Sherpa, said that such projects would also make nuns aware about the social media.

Groups including students of College of Natural Resources (CNR) proposed to clean the stream at Messina in Lobesa, Wangdue. A student at CNR, Sonam Zangpo said the groups would clean the waste and discharge from automobile workshops, which flow into the stream. “The project will make the stream useable for cultivation,” he said.

The participants said that to achieve the project’s expected outcome, getting volunteers and funding for the projects would be a challenge. The facilitators expressed concerns on the sustainability of the projects.

A teacher at ELC High School, Tenzin Dorji, said that depending on donations would bring fund for a short time.  “Sustainability should be looked at how the money can be generated from the project. The project will need to sustain from within and not outside sources,” he added.

The groups of students from Trashigang Central School, Yebilabtsa Central School and Sherubtse College proposed projects to help the old people in the community with sub-projects such as car-washing and scrap collection to generate funds.

The facilitator of the Yebilabtsa group, Passang Dorji, said that the students of Yebilabtsa would continue the project even if the projects don’t receive funding support. “The projects are doable without fund and the students want to help the community,” he said.

Students of Khesar Gyelpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan proposed to provide first aid training to the students of the community. The facilitators suggested that the projects also include mental health, which is common in Bhutan.

Communications (Programme) officer with Bhutan Centre for Media and Communication (BCMD), Tempa Wangdi, said that the youth are aware of social issues in the country and have their ideas to address them. “They already know a lot about the problems of the country. We just give them a platform to discuss about it,” he said.

Few of the proposed projects after being assessed by BCMD will receive financial support from the CISU.

The 90 participants of the summit proposed eight projects, one each from five groups and three from the Yebilabtsa Central School at Zhemgang.

The three-day youth summit was held to provide a platform for the youth to discuss social issues and understand individual responsibility. The summit conducted by BCMD was funded by UNICEF Bhutan.

Phurpa Lhamo