Tshangkha is Happy!

Inspired by Happy Bhutan, BCF teacher Sarah Diamond and students from Tshangkha Lower Secondary School completed a video for their schools variety show! The intention was to celebrate the school’s beauty and build relationships within the school community. Showing off some light-hearted aspects of school life in the midst of some intense exam preparation!

Check out Sarah’s blog Sarah Out and Abhut and her video here!

Visit Bhutan and National Reading Year 2015!

An eventful year ahead indeed! The Royal Government of Bhutan has declared 2015 as Visit Bhutan Year to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Bhutan will also commemorate the events by observing National Reading Year to develop a national reading strategy to instil a healthy reading habit by establishing e-Libraries in all Districts.

DSC_0217 flags

Learn more about what Bhutan has planned for the year 2015 at Kuensal Online – An Eventful Year Ahead!

School Development Project – Gongthung Greenhouse

Earlier this year we posted an update on a BCF teacher Warren Tanner’s school development project. Warren developed a plan to construct Gongthung Middle Secondary School and the greater community a Greenhouse to provide fresh vegetables year-round. In collaboration with the EuroCan Foundation and private backers, Warren and friends were able to construct a beautiful greenhouse that along with providing local veggies, will serve as an interactive classroom in which alternative cultivation and harvest methods can be taught!

Tanner, Warren - Gongthung Greenhouse Construction
Photo Credit: Warren Tanner – Greenhouse Construction
Tanner, Warren - Gongthung Greenhouse
Photo Credit: Warren Tanner – Gongthung Greenhouse!

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re proud to say it’s finally complete! A mountain of gratitude for all the overwhelming support and love leading up to this beauty of a final-product. Thanks to you, we’ll be able to enrich the diets of an entire school community with fresh, local, year-round veggies. “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Anatole France Warren Tanner

Learn more about Warrens project Grant Gongthung a Greenhouse, and to see what other projects our teachers are working on this year check out The School Development Program!

Visit Warrens blog at Transmissions from Bhutan.

Update from an Alumnus – Andrea Chisholm

We are very excited to bring you an update from 2013 BCF teacher Andrea Chisholm. Accompanied by her husband and two sons, Andrea spent a year in Bhutan teaching English at Chumey MSS in the district of  Bumthang. Having been home in Australia for over eight months now, Andrea is still very much connected to the country of Bhutan, the students, and the community of people she met along the way.

“We’ve been home from Bhutan since January, and although I feel fully immersed in a rich and happy life here in Australia, I still think of Bhutan everyday. I’ve become a Bhutanophile whose heart was captured by that magical place like no other at the top of the mountains.”

Along with teaching a full schedule in Bhutan, Andrea took on the role as primary school librarian. Following her passion for teaching reading to her students, Andrea has been working on a special project for the last few months that has recently come to fruition. To learn more about this project straight from the source visit Andrea’s blog post Books for Bhutan. Since writing her post, Andrea’s set of twelve books has been completed and she is looking forward to moving this project forward including fundraising to see these books printed and distributed throughout the country!

Photo Credit: Andrea Chisholm - Books for Bhutan Cover

Photo Credit: Andrea Chisholm - Books for Bhutan
Photo Credit: Andrea Chisholm – Books for Bhutan

 Reading seemed to me to be the most important skill my students needed to acquire. Most started school with no knowledge of English and yet this foreign language is the medium for their primary and high school education. Becoming a fluent user of English is imperative to success at school and the only pathway to further education and opportunities in Bhutan and beyond…

I bought a bundle of levelled readers in Thimphu and used these to listen to my students read one on one every morning before school. Most started with level 1 and struggled with even the most simple sentences as they had so little vocabulary in English. The books were made for Australian kids so they were about trips to the park, rock pools or museum, Australian style birthday parties, school fetes and making cheese tomato and lettuce sandwiches!

So, my mind began whirring with the idea of producing a set of very similar levelled readers that were Bhutan-ised. They would need simple modifications to content to draw on Bhutanese children’s prior knowledge and life experience. I thought clear and colourful photographic images of familiar scenes would engage students and help them identify vocabulary. And Jake and Anja would need to make way for Dorji and Deki!

Read about Andrea’s year spent teaching in Bhutan at her blog From Down Under to the Top of the World.

Blog of the Week – Wangduephodrang District Tshechu

Vicky Chartres is currently teaching English & Geography at Samtengang MSS in Wangdue, and was able to attend the Wangduephodrang Tshechu.

“Tshechu” is the annual event of the year in every district and though it is billed as a religious festival it is much more than that, as evidenced by Vicky’s experience and her colourful pictures from her latest blog post!

Unfortunately in June 2012 the Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag Dzong was burnt to the ground in a fire. As plans are underway to re-build, the Tencholing Army ground is where the Tschechu was held this year.

Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres - Wangduephodrang Tshechu
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres – Wangduephodrang Tshechu
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres - Wangduephodrang Tschechu
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres – Wangduephodrang Tshechu

Visit Vicky’s blog here –  In the Shadow of the Mountains.

Jomolhari Mountain Festival

The Jomolhari Mountain Festival, a community based initiative for the conservation of snow leopards, took place on October 8-9 at the base of Jomolhari. The festival included snow leopard themed folk songs and dances, traditional sports such as Khuru (darts), shot put, horse and yak riding, sampling of local delicacies and boutique handicrafts, and various picturesque guided hikes in and around Jomolhari!

Photo Credit: bhutan-bhutan.com - Jomolhari Mountain
Photo Credit: bhutan-bhutan.com – Jomolhari Mountain

Learn more about the Jomolhari Snow Leopard Conservation Programme from The Bhutan Foundation here!