English | Dzongkha Friday, May 29, 2020

An ECCD centre constructed 3 years ago for Lhops, and still without a facilitator

Nov 8, 2019

The Lhop community in Ngawang Dramtoe in Samtse sees education as a way forward to improve their livelihood. As such, the Tarayana Foundation in 2016 constructed an ECCD centre in the village. Three years on and the centre is still without a facilitator. This keeps parents off work while babysitting.

A four-year-old boy in Ngawang Dramtoe has no options but to stay home. Like him, there are about 50 children in the village who are below the age of six. The boy’s grandfather has to be with him at home, meaning one less hand to earn.

“If he can be admitted to an ECCD centre at an early age, he will learn to speak Dzongkha properly. And if he is able to learn Dzongkha at an early age, he will be able to progressively do well in studies as he grows up,” said Chep Tsheri Doya, from Ngawang Dramtoe under Tading Gewog in Samtse.

 About a kilometre away from Chep Tsheri Doya’s house is the ECCD centre constructed with funds from the Tarayana Foundation. The place is being used as everything but an ECCD centre.

Right now the centre is being used as a storage space and for community meetings. The Tarayana Foundation sees the functionality of this centre as an opportunity to alleviate the lives of the Lhop people.

 The centre was constructed at a cost of about Nu 1 M and have facilities required for an ECCD centre.

“Not having a facilitator in the centre is troubling us a lot. Our children are staying at home even when they are six years old. In Kempagang village children go to ECCD when they are about four years old. By six years, they get into class one in schools. But our children are a year behind,” said Tshewang Dema Doya, from Ngawang Dramtoe.

“We parents do not know anything. If they get early education, they will grow up and benefit us. They will guide us,” added Yanglay Doya, from the same village.

“If we continue keeping our children at home, our children shy away when meeting people from outside. Our Lhop children get lost. If they are educated early, they will improve. A facilitator is never coming and illiterate people like us just have to wait. It is sad and disheartening,” shares Chep Tsherin Doya.

Given their housing conditions, the Lhop people have poor health and sanitation practice. The Tarayana Foundation is hoping the ECCD centre can function as a place where lifestyle change can begin.

“If we have the ECCD running, we will get more training and projects. That way we can train the parents. That way, the parents themselves will change with the ECCD centre. Be it in terms of cleanliness, diets, and cooking habits. Parents are required to undergo such orientation training with the centre, that way they will naturally change,” said Thinley Bidha, the Field Officer for Tarayana Foundation. 

With the year almost ending, the hope now is that the Royal Civil Service Commission will approve Samtse Dzongkhag to recruit ECCD facilitators for next year. There are four more ECCD centres in the district without a facilitator.

Sherub Dorji

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