Eleven college interns’ 43 days (with short break) in Menchari village culminated on January 24, 2016, which brought together over 100 mencharipas (young & old), interns, 2 Bhutan Development Bank Ltd.’s (BDBL) staff, 3 SJI members & a UNICEF representative from Thimphu. Findings on the baseline survey of the village which among others included its rich resources, follow-up on book keeping, farm product pricing, marketing strategies & saving schemes, impact of alcoholism on health and family economy & wellbeing were presented by the interns to the gathering. An important highlight of the gathering was the opening of 19 new bank accounts with BDBL by the people of Menchari. BDBL also made a short presentation to the people.
The survey, among others highlighted the importance of reviving traditional seeds which are on the verge of disappearance from Menchari village. The nine main (Dru-na-gu) crops, cultivated in the past, were on the decline. Locally named Chero (little millet) and Sho-phu (Barley) seeds have already disappeared. Only one household had Mo (local name) (Amaranthus family) seeds, which is almost 7 years old.
The UNICEF representative was on a monitoring mission of youth-led projects funded by UNICEF through Bhutan Centre for Media & Democracy (BCMD). SJI provided the platform for youth engagement.
Besides the experience of village immersion, the interns earned love and affection of the people of Menchari. Nine interns were from Gaeddu College of Business Studies & 2 from College of Natural Resources.