Japanese Volunteers Taught Football Skills To Some Young Monks And Hope to Reach Out To All Other Monastic Institutions In Bhutan
Held on World Children’s Day on 20 November, the programme was spearheaded by the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV).
By Nima | Kuensel
In the courtyard of the Dechenphodrang Monastery in Thimphu, more than 30 monks were involved in a Health and Sports Education (HPE) session.
Held on World Children’s Day on 20 November, the programme was spearheaded by the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV). The initiative also marked the 30th anniversary of the JOCV programme in Bhutan.
More about the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOVC) programme
The Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOVC) programme is a system of dispatching Japanese volunteers overseas operated by the The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The program is similar to the U.S. Peace Corps. It includes volunteers in a wide range of fields such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, education, health and more than 120 technical fields.
The importance of Health and Sports Education (HPE) for Bhutanese youth
Monks at the Dechenphodrang Monastic School learnt football skills during a Health and Sports Education session. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteers also donated footballs and other equipment to the school.
The HPE festival was also observed across the country, especially schools in remote areas where there are Japanese volunteers.
The Senior Programme Officer of the volunteer programme, Tshering Palden said that while schools had budget and plans for sports activities, monks focused mainly on academics.
“We would like to continue with the programme in other monastic institutions if the programme goes well.”
What some of the Japanese volunteers said and felt
A volunteer, Koya Higa said that the initiative was aimed at making younger monks acquire the habit of doing exercises daily to maintain their health and improve their physical and mental fitness.
“I feel that monks do not have much time for exercise,” he said. “All children have the right to live a healthy life.”
Another volunteer, Yasunori Mori said that the HPE programme had improved over the years.
“In the future, it would be good if Bhutan can conduct such programme on its own. It would be a good opportunity to learn about Bhutan and HPE.”
To strengthen and revive the HPE programme which began in the year 2000, the Education Ministry plans to deploy one HPE teacher in every school in Bhutan.
This article first appeared in kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.