The first three-day nomadic festival will be held at Wangchuck Centennial Park in Bumthang starting December 26.
Nomads from all over Bhutan will come together dressed in their attires representing their regions and exchange their cultures and traditions.
Hundreds of nomads from Haa, Paro (Soi Yaksa), Thimphu (Naro), Gasa (Laya), Wangduephodrang (Sephu), Bumthang (Chhokhor, Tang, Shingkhar), Trashiyangtse (Bomdeling) and Trashigang (Merak and Sakten)will be participating.
During the three-day festival, various activities like awareness campaign on post-harvest of cordyceps, food safety and hygiene, yak and horse riding competition, yak bull lassoing, yak calf weight guessing and yak milking will be carried out. Traditional sports like dego, khuru, soksum and archery along with traditional songs and dances will be played. Continue reading Bhutan to organize first nomadic festival
Finding life difficult in Khalatsho, once famed for paddy, villagers abandon their homes
Villagers have to take a treacherous path to Dewathang in the winter months
28 November, 2009 – Once famous for paddy, the remote village of Khalatsho in Nganglam, Pemagatshel, is on the verge of being submerged by thickets and reverting into jungle once more.
Of its twelve households, only five remain. It has 15 residents, mostly in their forties, including two children, who will be joining school next year.
Thick overgrown bushes covering fallow paddy land, uncultivated for years, are drawing ever closer to the settlements.
Tigers get as close as to their animal sheds and have eaten up seven of their cattle this year alone. Elephants make loud noises at night and devour their maize, the village staple, which is grown twice a year. Continue reading Village returns to jungle
Rural credit is crucial in improving lives in the farm
Bhutan needs to adopt a national policy on micro finance. This was the message at a seminar on creating a suitable environment and regulatory framework for micro financing yesterday.
“There is no national policy at the moment,” said Dr Pema Choephyel, a BDFCL agriculture specialist who spoke at the seminar. With a national policy, Dr Pema told Kuensel, rural poverty alleviation would become more effective and faster. “We’ll be able to focus and target groups critically in need of credits,” he said, “It would also steer us in the right direction on how micro financing actually should be instituted according to international standards.”
The Non-Formal Education (NFE) Programme has changed the lives of countless number of illiterate adults in rural areas. For its success, this year it was awarded the Honourable Mention of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy.
Ran Maya Subba, 12 came to Begana three years ago as a domestic helper to her aunt. She is from Patala village under Tsirang Dzongkhag. Shortly after her arrival, her aunt enrolled Ran Maya in the NFE centre at Begana.
Back in her village, she could not go to school as the nearest school is about three hours’ walk from her house.
Project Hope 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.
Without boarding or teacher’s quarter facilities, it’s a 10 km hike back and forth
Going to school in remote Bhutan involves hours of walking. In Samcholing, Trongsa, it is not just some students either.
The 121 students and 10 teachers of the recently upgraded lower secondary school walk uphill for hours to their school without boarding or teacher’s quarter facilities. Located above the main Samcholing village, there is no settlement around for teachers to rent houses and all the 16 teaching and non-teaching staff walk five and half km every day to reach the school. Some students walk about 10 km.
The only female teacher in the school, Shoba G, stays in Kuengarabten. “I wake up at 5 am every morning and walk for an hour and a half to reach school,” she said.
The 2.7 km farm road that connects the school from the Trongsa-Zhemgang highway is not pliable.
Farmers of Samcholing, who live on a sharecropping system and own little land of their own, are not happy too. “We’re the least developed people and our children have no bordering facilities,” said a 52-year-old father. “If the school wasn’t in our village, our children would avail hostel facilities in Taktse middle secondary school,” said another villager. Continue reading Long haul to Samcholing school
Phuensumgang Community Primary School – The school of hard knocks
Senior citizens and children alike suffer and sacrifice at the altar of education
CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD? – Taking care of themselves and their education
A six-hour climb from Bhurchu, about 94 km away from Dagana proper, up on a hill, is Phuensumgang community primary school. Except for the Lajab gewog office, RNR centre and BHU, there is no settlement around. The nearest village is a two-hour walk away from the school.
But about 20 tiny, one-storey bamboo huts, located near the school, look like a village to any newcomer. These are the boarding hostels, constructed by parents of the 156 students in the school. In one of the huts, Kinzang Drakpa, 64, is making fern curry for his grandchildren, studying in classes four and two.
A retired soldier from Pemagatshel Shaligamong, Kinzang resettled a decade ago in Sipa village, two hours by foot from the school. In the absence of any school near the village and at his niece’s request, the lanky old man has spent the last few years in Phuensumgang school, cooking and looking after his niece’s children.
Bamboos dying in large numbers on the hills of Jarey gewog in Lhuentse worry villagers, who depend on the plant for roofing and other domestic purposes. About 150 houses in the gewog with 221 households have bamboo roofing, while others use bamboo to roof animal sheds and make products for domestic use.
“Most houses in the gewog have not changed their roofs over three years,” said a villager, Ugyenmo, 66. Normally, villagers redo their roofing once every two years. “The roof is leaking and my house is rotting but we can’t do anything. There’s no bamboo in the forest and we don’t have money to buy other types of roofing,” said Ugyenmo, who lives with her daughter and three grandchildren. She owns a big two-storied traditional house, but the roof has been he same for the last six years.
Villagers have started penetrating into deeper forests, but say there are not many bamboos around. “Whatever’s available is very far and difficult to transport,” said another villager. “We’ve started scaling the other side of Jarey hill in the hope of finding bamboos to re-roof our houses before monsoon sets in.” Continue reading Bamboo demise leaves Jarey roofs bereft
GUINNESS RECORD PROSPECT? – Once operational, Yonphula airport may qualify as the highest of its kind
Will Bhutan have its first domestic air service by October this year? As far as the civil aviation department is concerned, they have not as yet received any proposals.
Drukair, however, is doing a feasibility study on operating a domestic air service within the country.
Drukair’s managing director, Tandin Jamtsho, said that the present aircraft could not ply in domestic airports because of shorter runways. Operating from a place like Yonphula requires smaller aircrafts and special pilots.
Pemagatshel Dzongkhag has put up a proposal to the Gross National Happiness Commission to pipe water all the way from Khaling in Trashigang. Preliminary studies have been conducted on the possibility of piping water from Wamrong but the idea was dropped after finding it unsustainable for long term.
During Lyonchhen’s visit to the dzongkhag in January this year, he said that, since the Khaling stream was said to be receding, there was a need to find a sustainable alternative. He suggested that creating an artificial lake on Oori stream, which is about 1000 m above sea level, for distribution of water to some nearby villages would be a better option. Continue reading The thirsty dzongkhag