“In class 1, I was way too young to be allowed to join the scouts. I felt hopeless. After waiting for 3 years, they finally accepted me. At first, it was just about engaging in fun activities but in college, the purpose changed. I found myself at the centre of many community services. Along with other volunteers, I initiated clothes drives, built recreational parks for monks & vegetable sheds for villagers.

After graduation, I pulled myself out from depression after failing RCSC with 0.9 & focused on scouting again. Along with many new initiatives, I decided to do something unique. As a tribute to His Majesty on his 60th Birth Anniversary, we set out on a mission to restore & white wash 108 chortens in Bhutan. We started with the one at lungtenzampa & gradually made our way to Paro & then to Chukha. I also reappeared for RCSC & got through to study a postgraduate in teaching. On my break, the group that I brought together, had dispersed. Not losing hope, I looked for new people & resources to finish with the remaining chortens.

On july 24th, 2017, exactly after 8 months, the 108th chorten was white washed but we knew we couldn’t stop there. The haunting sight of a chorten in Paro which was neglected for the last 20 years, stood as a reminder that our job has only begun. After becoming a teacher, my first posting was at Buli, Zhemgang. During the school breaks, I led teams of young volunteers on the mission to restore the glory of every chortens on our way. It took a lot of planning & resource mobilization before we could even set out. We had a facebook group where I’d ask people to donate for our project.

In the last 5 years, project ‘Kuenphen – lets help’, white washed 680 chortens & if not for the pandemic, we had no plans to stop.
Sun & lime burns were a regular in our mission & eventually, we stopped caring about them. However, when the limes get in the eye, it’s a serious matter. One time, a falling rock from the roof hit one of the kids working with us. Luckily, he was unscathed.

Over the years, I realised that we cannot save every chorten. However, teaching the people to take care of them & not rely solely on their government, will ensure that our heritage will live on for generations to come.”

#InternationalYouthDay #HumanStory

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