16-year-old Tshering always had a great interest in learning new skills pertaining to computers and new technologies. But because Tshering resides in Changjiji in Thimphu, Bhutan, her access to computers, internet or the opportunities to develop 21st-century skills is none too easy.
READ Bhutan’s Engaging Youth with Information and Computer Technology Trainings (ICT) project was aimed at addressing this challenge by providing internet connectivity and building the skills of 56 young (35 girls and 21 boys) people (aged between 13-19). Tshering was eager to learn more about these tools offered to her, and never missed any of the (ICT) offered at Changjiji READ Center in the past – when she was given the chance to participate in the Engaging Youth with ICT project at the Center in 2017, she was elated.
All those who participated learned working knowledge of photography, audio, videography and media literacy, and acquired critical skills in digital storytelling – not a small feat for a remote village like Changjiji. While Bhutan is often championed for it’s happy, carefree culture, only three radio stations currently provide direct news services to its citizens (want to learn more about the READ Bhutan radio station? Watch our YouTube video here.) and very few book or media publishing houses exist. Getting a chance to share with their community their experiences, expressions, and local goings-ons was an exciting addition to their teachings.
Participants began creating local content and initiating discussions surrounding local issues usually not discussed, such as waste management, the importance of reading and environmental protection. At the one-day exhibition held at Changjiji READ Center, bringing participants from the two communities together to share the experience and showcase their works, Tshering said, “In the past, I could only take pictures and make videos on my phone, but with the training I can now take good photographs and make videos.”
Tshering is now confident that she can obtain the career of her dreams. “Now I can decide what I want to become when I complete my studies. I feel that this training has prepared me to become a journalist.”
Participants of the project will continue to create local stories by forming ICT clubs at their Centers, and recruit and train new club members. This project was made possible with funding from the Van Ameringen Foundation. We would like to thank the Foundation for helping us build the skills of young Bhutanese people and ignite in them the curiosity to learn new things every day. We also extend special gratitude to Mr. Clarence J. Sundram, Board member of the Foundation for making it possible.
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