Woman In Bhutan Seeks To Set Up Greenhouse Project To Help Single Mothers And School Dropouts In Gelephu


Tshering Lhamo said that once her project proposal is ready, she will apply for a loan to realise her dream embarking on her new social enterprise.

Drying chillies in Bhutan. (Source: Tailormadejourney.co.uk)


By Tashi Dema | Kuensel

Two years ago, a group of farmers, 13 women and two men, formed a cooperative in Umling, Gelephu.

The group members made ginger candies and banana chips, raw materials for which are easily and abundantly available in the locality.

Factors behind the failure of the cooperative

The group, however, could not function properly even for a year and a half. The Group’s chairperson, Tshering Lhamo said that the lack of a marketplace has hampered the group activity.


Source: Raonline.ch


“Members lost interest as a result.”

The 35-year-old said that the gewog’s agriculture extension officer, under whose guidance they had formed the group, also left for Australia.

“That also affected our group.”

One woman tried to revive the cooperative

The group ultimately dissolved but Tshering Lhamo has not given up hope yet. Along with four other women in the village, she tried growing chillies in the winter on an acre of land and they earned a profit of more than Nu 13,000 in the next four winter months.

The single mother of four then used the money for her children’s education. Meanwhile, she is preparing to grow chillies on an acre of land by herself this winter.


Source: hiveminer


She is still waiting for the greenhouse, in which she applied through the gewog’s agriculture extension office to be ready. She has yet to receive her greenhouse materials for construction.

In the meantime, she has grown the chilli saplings in every place possible, near the walls and even on stacked timber.

“The incessant rain damages the sapling. I have to protect it from the rain,” Tshering said.

“I have also even grown it in my neighbour’s greenhouse.”

Arming herself with skills to realise her ambition

To make the best out of her time while waiting for the gewog’s approval, Tshering has also participated in the training on food processing and packaging under the one gewog one product (OGOP) development project in August last year.


Source: twitter/tsheringdorG


Tshering Lhamo is again planning on making candies from ginger, banana and papaya. Besides that, she is also going to make pickles. “I will make it as and when I receive an order from OGOP outlets.”

Currently, she lives in a single-storey make-shift hut with her four children. She remarried recently but the husband is away for some contract works.

Engaging single mothers and school dropouts in the locality through her project

Being entrepreneurial, the class 10 graduate said that she has a novel project on papaya and ginger products in her mind. A graduate of Gaedu College is helping her to write the proposal for the project.

Tshering Lhamo said that once her project proposal is ready, she will apply for a loan to realise her dream embarking on her new social enterprise.

“There are many single mothers and school dropouts in the locality. We can all work together on the project.”


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

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