I’m very proud to post this story on my blog. The story of joy that I gained from giving it back to my village. In a small measure though. And here, my heart melts with an overwhelming joy and happiness - perhaps the purest of joy that I had ever felt.
The 4-day long Children Program that I initiated and organized with the support from my niece Lisa and nephew Salman and the READ Bhutan and Chuzagang Agricultural Farmers Co-operative ended successfully this weekend. This program is the first contribution that I initiated for my village, my community.
My village, Chuzagang (in Gelephu), is still considered as a remote village. Over 487 households in the village, people live a hard peasantry life. Without motorable road, we still carry loads on our backs and walk two hours to reach Gelephu town.
Many years ago, I had soared out away from this village, from the hard life. I got lucky. Because I got education. Good in studies, I had passed each class (standard) in the schools and college and got a civil service job.
But other village children are not so lucky like me. These children are always burdened with working excessively in the fields. The parents (due to lack of awareness) prefer their children helping them back in the farms than sending them to the schools. Due to this, the children do not get adequate time and guidance in their studies. So every year, many children drop out of the schools. Also, deprived of educational programs in Chuzagang, the children are generally very shy with low self-esteem and confidence.
However, I’m a proud man today. A degree certificate in my name, I’ve a dignified government job. I don’t till land. Neither do I’ve to sweat in the summer heat, nor do I get to drench in the monsoon rain. Literally speaking, I live a sophisticated and happy life.
But what “happy life” or “pride” should I say that is in me when my own fellow-villagers still struggle back in the village? Should one consider the “pride” comes to you when you become more successful than others?
My village and my fellow-villagers need me now – my love, my knowledge, my support and my expertise. Even in a small way. They don’t ask me, but I can sense it, instinctively. And I always believe that our small contributions means a lot for them like each brick that makes a house.
I’m never a proud man or a true son of this village until I do something for my village and my fellow-villagers. Truthfully speaking, this village has given me so much. This is the place where I was born and grew up and got my early education. And it’s our natural responsibility that we (educated and “prosperous” people) return and give back to our own community to make it better, prosperous community.
So this 4-day long program for 46 children of my village, Chuzagang, is intended to empower them with necessary information and skills so that they can realize the importance of education. We have also involved the gewog leaders, parents and officials from different agencies in the program to create awareness on positive development of the village children.
I know that I cannot do great things. I cannot donate money in millions; I cannot impact our country’s policies. But I can initiate small projects, like this one, for my community. One day, these 46 children, when they grow up educated and prosperous, can also give back to their community. I believe that many small contributions can make a great difference.
Sangay Tshering, the Gup of Chuzagang Gewog, graced the closing of the program. The program was conducted from January 21-24, 2014 at Read Bhutan Community Library and Resource Centre in Chuzagang.