There are countless non-profit art organizations in the world. While most of them utilize the power art holds for positive and productive social purposes, VAST Bhutan stands apart from the rest. I have had the privilege of witnessing the workings of VAST, first hand, over the last six weeks. It is always an incredible thing to participate in social services, but VAST’s volunteers have reminded me how true activism through art can benefit a world.
VAST has initiated several special projects alongside the regular classes that are taught by its volunteers- projects that are born out of the core of true humanitarianism. Last year, volunteers came together to develop a rice bank to help the needy. They also built a home for a family in Punakha. While both of these projects were incredible, VAST’s ‘Make a Wish’ project deserves particular recognition.
For futher information on VAST bhuan please visit: http://www.vast-bhutan.org/
Child workers work far beyond the time and day limits set by the [Bhutan’s] Labour and Employment Act, according to a study conducted by National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC).
The child labour study, which was conducted by sampling 650 child labourers between 6 and 14 years of age from six dzongkhags – two each from three regions – in the country, found that 37 percent of the children worked between eight and a half hours to 12 hours, and 20 percent worked for more than 12 hours a day. Eighty-nine percent of them started work before 8 am. Continue reading Children overworked
5 December, 2009 – A class XI student in Thimphu, Dorji Tshomo Tshering, has been through this week reading up on gross national happiness (GNH) and the Bhutanese education system.
The 16-year-old science student is among the 28 Bhutanese participants and 25 international educators, who will take part in the six-day “Educating for GNH workshop” in Thimphu starting December 7.
Bhutanese and international participants will sit together to discuss very practically how GNH values can be brought into science, math, history, language and extra-curricular activities from pre-primary through post secondary education, according to education officials. Continue reading Bringing GNH to schools
… that showcases the possibilities however challenged persons may be
|SPECIAL PEOPLE, SIMPLE NEEDS: Ugyen Wangdi, a hearing impaired student of Drugyel LSS spells it out.
International Disability Day 4 December, 2009 – In response to a question on what is the most important help he needed from the government, Ugyen Wangdi, a hearing impaired student of Drugyel lower secondary school wrote: “Books, pencil, paper, pen,” on a small green-board, pinned with a banner that read ‘Communicate through Reading and Writing’.
Ugyen Wangdi was part of an exhibition held yesterday to showcase the abilities of the mentally and physically challenged, as Bhutan observed International Day for Persons with Disabilities with the theme: Realising the millennium development goals for all.
The exhibition, held in the courtyard of the Druk Tashi Taj hotel, the only venue in the capital city with basic accessibility for the physically challenged, also had on display knitted weaves, woodcarvings, embroidery, artwork and a host of other items made by people with special needs. Continue reading An exhibition of abilities…
The Youth Development Fund (YDF) has come up with a professional rehab centre for drug and alcohol dependents.
It will be launched within the next two months and will be known as the Treatment and Rehab Center for Drug and Alcohol dependents.
It was informally started last month. As an interim measure the centre is being housed at Serbithang in Thimphu. After a year or two, the centre will be permanently established in Gidakom.
The centre is being supervised and monitored by the Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency and YDF. It can accommodate about 10 people.
Source: Bhutan Broadcasting Service
Not just a helping hand but also a bridge back to mainstream society
The National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), with support from Save The Children fund (SCF) will set up Bhutan’s first transitional shelter for children, who are homeless, abused, neglected, emotionally disturbed or face other difficult circumstances.
Called ‘Project Hope – putting children first’, the need for such a shelter, NCWC officials said, was felt after seeing increasing numbers of children begging in different parts of Thimphu and boys and girls being exploited as cheap labour.
For instance, about 15 boys, some as young as five years, at the Thimphu crematorium, beg daily or dive into the river to pick up money thrown with cremation ashes. Some of these boys live in the neighbourhood, while others are orphans, who seek refuge with their relatives at night.
There is also an increasing number of children begging at the vegetable market on weekends, say Thimphu residents.
Children as young as 10, to survive, also work at motor vehicle workshops and restaurants in Thimphu. Continue reading Shelter for homeless kids
The only public library in town is so cramped, one has to worm one’s way around
A few steps away from the massive and modern Taj Tashi hotel, across the noisy six-lane upper Norzin Lam, lies an aged one-storied building. Its significance and, at the same time, unfortunate obscurity, becomes apparent after reading what’s written on a small sign that hangs over its door: “Jigme Dorje Wangchuck Public Library, 1979.”
While larger modern buildings, that house snooker rooms and bars, video game parlors, video rental stores, dance clubs and other social entertainment venues sprout all around it, Bhutan’s sole public lending library continues to languish in the same building it has occupied since 1985. Continue reading The low priority library
An interim rehabilitation centre will open next month while the proposal for the first fully equipped rehabilitation centre at Gidakom gets approved, say officials from the youth development fund (YDF) and Bhutan narcotics control agency (BNCA).
The one-year interim rehab centre will function in a rented house in Thimphu with 40 patients. A programme coordinator, an addiction expert and four counselors, who are presently undergoing training in India, will make up the staff. The rehab will be jointly run by YDF and BNCA. Continue reading Bhutan Government go-slow holds up rehab