…𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉𝒔 𝒓𝒆𝒋𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒔𝒆𝒆𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒈𝒓𝒆𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒓 𝒑𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒃𝒓𝒐𝒂𝒅, 𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒃𝒖𝒕𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆 𝒄𝒖𝒍𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒍 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒈𝒆
As an increasing number of individuals flock abroad in search of greener pastures, a remarkable phenomenon is emerging among Bhutanese youth. Instead of following the prevailing trend, a growing cohort of young Bhutanese is choosing to stay rooted in their homeland, driven by a deep sense of purpose and a strong commitment to their communities. These visionary individuals place utmost importance on safeguarding their cultural heritage and carrying forward the time-honored traditions passed down by their grandparents. With unwavering faith in the untapped potential within Bhutan, they bravely challenge the commonly held belief that true financial success can only be attained by venturing overseas.
Nima Tenzin, a 26-year-old resident of Morong under Orong Gewog in Samdrup Jongkhar, exemplifies this sentiment. Rejecting the allure of Australia, Nima emphasizes his desire to stay in his village and build upon the foundations established by his ancestors. He argues that Bhutanese youth can generate income within the country by tapping into the government’s development programs and exploring opportunities in sectors like agriculture and livestock. Nima envisions a prosperous Bhutan that rivals the financial success associated with working abroad.
He also said that with the ample of opportunities in Bhutan like Australia, I believe an opportunity like in Australia is already in Bhutan and moreover that is how we take up.
Jigme Wangchuk, a 24-year-old sculptor, stresses the value of diligent effort in every profession. “My sculptures are intended to leave a lasting impact not only in this life but also in the next,” Jigme asserted. He believes that job opportunities are plentiful throughout Bhutan, emphasizing the need to align one’s life purpose with their chosen vocation.
Similarly, Ugyen Pema, a 24-year-old from Tashiyangtse, finds contentment in his current situation as a driver in Bumthang. He refutes the notion that working two jobs outside of Bhutan is inherently more rewarding. Ugyen cherishes the advantages he enjoys in his homeland, including ample time with his family, comprehensive social benefits, and the assurance of basic necessities such as healthcare and meals. He believes that these factors contribute significantly to his overall well-being and happiness.
Ugyen further highlights on the myriad challenges encountered by Bhutanese who seek opportunities abroad, emphasizing the difficulties of maintaining strong familial bonds and navigating the complexities of healthcare systems in foreign lands. Through his personal experience, he unequivocally affirms that Bhutan encompasses all the essential elements necessary for his personal growth and prosperity, cementing his profound sense of pride and contentment in his beloved nation.
Desuup Yoezer Choki, hailing from Pam in Trashigang, shares similar sentiments. While initially aspiring to study abroad, Yezar Choki realized the importance of her responsibilities towards her elderly parents and the desire to contribute to her homeland. Through the Desuung program, Yezar Choki received training in hairdressing and established her own business, ensuring a sufficient income to support her aging parents and serve her country whenever needed.
The choices made by Nima, Ugyen, and Yezar Choki reflect an emerging and inspiring trend observed among Bhutanese youth. These individuals embody a profound sense of devotion to their families, communities, and the preservation of their cherished cultural heritage. Their unwavering dedication reflects the unwavering spirit and resilience of the Bhutanese people as a whole.
Minister Karma Dorji, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment said, “The prevailing consensus emphasizes the contribute to the development and prosperity of their homeland stands as a testament to the strength and pride of the utmost importance of skills, as they empower individuals to accomplish anything they set out to do. In the past, qualifications held greater significance, but the paradigm has shifted, giving precedence to skills, which can now be easily acquired. Both for personal benefit and the advancement of the nation, skills play a vital role. The most significant avenue for skill enhancement lies in import substitution, considering the substantial reliance on imported goods. Specifically, the food industry stands out in this regard. Given the crucial role of export and import in Bhutan, abundant job opportunities emerge in this field. Moreover, individuals have the opportunity to innovate unique designs in the realm of handicrafts and export them to foreign countries, further expanding the potential for success.”
“Possessing skills opens up opportunities in various domains, which is why the ministry is currently prioritizing skill development. An example of such a program is the Desuung skilling program, and in 2024, another program called Gyelsung will be introduced. The Gyelsung program aims to train and equip youth who have completed class 12 with essential skills over a period of 9 months. Following the program, individuals who wish to further enhance their skills can pursue additional education at TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training). Previously, TVET only offered national certificates, but now they provide diploma, degree, and even master’s programs. The Bhutan Qualification Framework has been established to set the standards for these qualifications. Similar to conventional academic qualifications, TVET is now regarded with equal importance. Additionally, emphasis will be placed on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). All these changes are geared towards aligning with the job market, bolstering the economy, and ensuring effective performance and productivity. The provision of necessary skills to individuals creates opportunities tailored to their abilities”, he added.
He further added, “The remaining population of Bhutan should seize the opportunity to participate in training programs, as this will enable them to grasp greater opportunities in the future. Alternatively, individuals who choose to go abroad also benefit from gaining experience and acquiring skills from other countries. Furthermore, the enhanced education and expertise acquired abroad can greatly benefit their home country upon their return to Bhutan. Currently, considering the relatively small size of the economy, it is understandable for individuals to seek opportunities elsewhere. However, as each five-year plan unfolds, the GDP is expected to grow. As the economy expands, Bhutanese citizens living abroad will likely return, and their education, experience, and skills will contribute to further developing the country’s economy.”
With an increasing number of Bhutanese youth choosing to embrace the path of staying rooted in their homeland and actively contributing to their communities, they courageously defy the prevalent notion that success can only be attained through emigration. These visionary individuals prioritize the preservation and celebration of their rich cultural heritage, while simultaneously harnessing the untapped potential within Bhutan’s borders. In doing so, they are laying the groundwork for a future that is not only prosperous but also vibrant, where the values of tradition and progress seamlessly intertwine and flourish.