Nazhoen Lamtoen’s Children’s Halfway Home, the only children’s shelter in the country is facing a dearth of space. Due to the space crunch, it is unable to provide separate facilities for children in need of different support. The shelter supports and provides aftercare services to children in conflict with the law and children in difficult circumstances.
This two-storied building located in Thimphu currently houses eleven children, three boys and eight girls. Of them, one is a youth in conflict with the law and the rest are children in difficult circumstances.
With inadequate space to conduct programs and activities, the caregivers and counsellors say it’s difficult to arrange activities for children in need of different support. The shelter can accommodate 20 children.
According to the National Commission for Women and Children, it is advisable to keep shelters separate for children who come from difficult circumstances and children who were in conflict with the law. This is due to anticipated peer violence among children.
“The current shelter home is on a rented place where we need to pay rent of Nu 30,000. And that place is not that conducive. The structure is quite old, and there are no separate facilities for boys and girls. We have a lot of challenges in terms of conducting programs and activities,” said Thinley Tobgyel, the Executive Director of the organisation.
“Due to lack of adequate space; meals, prayers, studies, and games, are all done in the lobby. Children’s parents entrust us to provide better shelter to their children. Some children are very good at studies and even top their classes. But they are disturbed by the noise of other children. If we can get another space to make separate rooms for children to play and study, Nazhoen Lamtoen can provide better and more effective services to the vulnerable children of the country,” said Phub Gyem, the Manager of the organisation.
In addition, due to financial difficulties, the service providers are worried about whether they would be able to continue providing services if the situation doesn’t improve.
The centre was established by Nazhoen Lamtoen, a non-profit organisation as the first-ever children’s shelter home in 2018. Through the implementation of various reintegration programs, the shelter provides counselling and support services to the children while at the centre.
Since its establishment, it has reintegrated over 54 children with their families and society.
Edited by Sonam Pem