Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rural Community College Bhutan | Indiegogo

Rural Community College Bhutan | Indiegogo

Short Summary

Contributors fund ideas they can be passionate about and to people they trust. Here are some things to do in this section: I am Dr. Rieki Crins, anthropologist specialized on Bhutan. I have 23 years of experience with the country. The last 15 years I have been working with my Bhutanese partners in the tourist sector. This sector is a growth sector and it can create a lot of jobs for the many unemployed Bhutanese youth. That is why I started this project: and impact investment project: Setting up eco hotels and a rural business academy where we teach hospitality, tourism and social entrepreneurship. We will work closely with respected hotelschools from Switzerland and other experts. This part of the project will be implemented as a non-profit initiative for which the Learning Exchange Foundation has been established. The Foundation will set up the LEF School with limited funds and run the school. The idea is that when the Bhutique Hotel is profitable revenues of the Hotel will flow into the LEF School making it a self-sustaining concept in the future. The initial phases will need a development grant in order to pilot test the model and become sustainable after 5 years. The funding needed will cover all operational expenses of the first 3 years of developing the concept.

Background and rationale: Bhutan is one of the least developed economies in the world.  Its economic development and growth are challenged by factors of geography being located in the fragile and rugged eastern Himalayan range and sandwiched between two giant nations – China and India.

The result of the 2009 Bhutan Labor Force Survey confirmed that unemployment is rising and more than 80% of the unemployed are in the age group of 15 and 25. Besides, 60% of its population of 700,000 is younger than 25 years of age. This means 13,000 of the 325,700 economically active people in Bhutan are unemployed. Many blame this on the mismatch in demand and supply, as more Bhutanese citizens are becoming educated and unable to work as farmers or laborers anymore, while the highest economic demand in the country is for construction and manual labor. Also, large numbers of young people are migrating from rural to urban centers in search of employment and better opportunities. Statistics (Labour Force Survey 2011) show youth unemployment more than doubled between 1998 and 2005.  And with growing unemployment, delinquency, such as petty crime and prostitution, is on the rise. Bhutan’s population is young, 60 % is under 25 years. Bhutan has been very successful in education and school enrollment is almost 100 %. However, the educated young people don’t go back to the farms of their parents to plough the land and look for other opportunities elsewhere.  It is to be noted that Bhutan’s unemployment scenario is more of a mis-match of jobs and skills than the lack of jobs as such and business opportunities. According to the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources : given the current scenarios of unemployment in general and youth unemployment in particular, “around 140,000 new jobs must be created in the next five years and creating an environment in which the educated youth is able to find job or business opportunities to lead meaningful lives, is the main challenge for the Royal Government of Bhutan.”  The Ministry also states that  “the lack of proper system of ‘school to work transition’ is to be another major factor to be addressed. Our young jobseekers are not aware of the labour market dynamics and opportunities, be it direct employment or through skills development.” (MoLHR, 2012). As tourism is one of the main economic drivers for Bhutan, with an increase of 35% tourism arrivals in the last 5 years). The hospitality and service industry is still in very nascent stages and offers enormous scope and opportunities for the Bhutanese especially the younger generations. Central and eastern Bhutan in particular remains largely unexplored thus offering plenty of scope for businesses whilst the educated and young are rushing to towns in western Bhutan for employment (rural-migration being another major challenge for Bhutan) that is scarcely available. Therefore this project aims to focus on reorienting and supporting youth from these areas to realize the value and potential in their own communities and stimulate economic growth whilst becoming independent, self-sufficient and confident individuals.

Goal and Objectives of the Project

The goal of the project is to establish a full-fledged training center Paro and later in Phobjikha to build capacities of young men and women with the objectives to: 1.  Contribute to professionalization of the tourism and hospitality services in Bhutan and comply with high quality standards required for this sector. 2.  Facilitate and support younger generations from rural poor and marginalized communities to receive training in tourism development and hospitality, so they can generate their own income and lead meaningful lives. 3.  Exchange of students and professionals with other countries in the West and the East to improve experience and learning contributing to educate participants of the LEF Schools. 4.  Bhutique Hotel well known and profitable in 2017 and LEF Schools sustained from the benefits and charity received from customers. Efficient online marketing, crowd funding, and mouth to mouth promotion will generate an occupation rate of 60% annually.

Target group

The project aims to reach out to young men and women in the age group of 18 – 30 from Central and Eastern Bhutan, of class X – XII pass outs or drop outs. This is a vulnerable group and risks to fall in between the cracks, because of their geographical location (far away from the capital), the level of education and lack of guidance they have a limited future. At the same this group is well positioned to take up blue collar jobs and set up small scale and medium sized businesses to make a decent living and with them the families would benefit as well. There is a big need for young people in this target group for guidance and training as they often come from a rural background where parents are illiterate and/or from broken homes. They lack role models to look up to and often they move to towns to stay with friends or family, don’t find desirable work and “linger” all day in the streets. Therefore, the project is aiming at such groups interested in exploring business and job opportunities to help them guide and explore their potentials and take the future into their own hands; be it a professional job in the tourism/hospitality sector or setting up a profitable business related to tourism. Our aim is to stimulate the young people to stay in the places where they live and not move to Thimphu We need 100.000 US dollars to set up the school and to enroll the 50 first students who we will train. By training them, they can sustain their family.

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