Dorji Khandu

Journal of a Young Parliamentarian

Lungo Extended Classroom (ECR) is one of the most remote and northernmost schools located at an elevation of more than 4000 meters above sea level; high up in the Himalayas in Gasa dzongkhag. Laya Central School is the parent school of the ECR. The school benefited the localities of Lungo Chiwog over the years.

Currently, 24 students are studying under Lungo ECR with two teachers and three Early Childhood Care & Development (ECCD) facilitators. The school remains closed for almost four months in a year because of the short summer and long winter season.

The ECR was fully funded by the government of Bhutan; thus, providing free education to the children of Lungo. However, the ECR was not equipped with necessities for years.

With help from UNICEF, they could set up a safe playground for the ECCD students and brought toys for the class in 2018; the heating system in the classroom for the children remained as one of the major challenges.

Due to its unfavorable geographical location and weather, at Lungo ECR, the temperature during the peak summer season climbs hardly above 10 degree Celsius. The students have to carry their pack lunch and during lunchtime, one can see students taking cold packed lunch, which was prepared early in the morning by their parents back home.

It’s a problem faced by every student studying in the ECR and also a major challenge for the kids enrolled in ECCD (children from age of 3-5) without a proper heating system in the classroom, making it difficult for both children and the facilitator to run the centre.

Thus, to overcome these challenges, we wrote a letter to Shama Foundation seeking support to purchase micro-oven that can be used for heating pack lunch and a panel heater for the ECCD classroom.

Shama Foundation is a Non-profit Organisation dedicated to the cause of social welfare, education, and health care. The foundation has benefited the needy societies in Bhutan with an immediate response.

As per our request, Shama Foundation provided financial support to purchase two panel heaters and a microwave oven for the ECCD centre in July 2019. We purchased the items from Thinley Norbu Enterprise, Olakha, Thimphu and delivered to Gasa. However, the parcel was stranded in Gasa for weeks due to heavy monsoon that made mule tracks unsafe for travel.

In the last week of August 2019, with the help of Lungo Tshogpa, panel heaters and oven could finally make its way to Lungo ECR. When we see small kids with cute happy smiles worn on their faces enjoying the warm atmosphere of the classroom; it does not doubt bringing happiness in the hearts of people who are involved in making this miracle happen.

We are very much obliged to the founder of Shama Foundation, Mr Surya and his wife, the representative of Shama Foundation in Bhutan, Ms. Dorji Wangmo and Lungo tsogpa for helping us with the transportation.

Once again, I am overwhelmed in all humbleness and gratefulness to acknowledge with my deep appreciation to all those who were involved in making this project happen in Lungo Extended Classroom in Laya, Gasa.