First ever shelter for disadvantaged children

The children’s shelter in Changgedaphu is the first ever interim children’s shelter home established by Nazhoen Lamtoen to provide aftercare services to disadvantaged children. Nazhoen Lamtoen provides aftercare services to children and youth in conflict with law and in difficult circumstances.

In the past, children were sheltered in hotels until proper re-integration for the children was carried out, such as enrolling in schools, employing them or uniting them with families. However, the cost to shelter children in hotel rooms was huge, and eventually an interim children’s shelter was established in October 2018.

Nazhoen Lamtoen also faced many challenges in providing immediate support, like shelter. It was found that most of the children and youth released from juvenile centers, prison and rehabilitation didnot have proper care and support in society. Under such circumstances, most of them go back to their old trade and end up in prison with more sentences to serve, Nazhoen Lamtoen said, “It is because of this reason that we came up with the idea of children shelter home.”

The interim children’s shelter was established after getting approval from National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) and with financial and technical support from Save the Children, HELVETAS Bhutan and the European Union.

Nazhoen Lamtoen said the children’s shelter home is the first of its kind in the country. “There are children and youth residing in shelter home who are going through difficult times because some of them have been abandoned, some have been abused and some due to the uncertainty in life that comes along.”

The 2 storied building which houses the children’s shelter, located just below the Druk School, has sufficient playground. Currently there are 17 children (10 girls and 7 boys) residing in the shelter, Nazhoen Lamtoen said.

Shelter Manager, Juna Rai, said, “The children released from youth development rehabilitation center (YRDC) are successfully reintegrated with their families and in their society resulting in decreased instances of repeat-offenses and sentencing, but it has been reported by the police that despite it all, many children released from the center relapse, commit crimes and offenses, and return to the center carrying more sentences to serve. In some cases, the children refuse to go back to the society fearing discrimination, rejection, and being ostracized by families, and societies.”

Given such grim scenarios, she said, “Nazhoen Lamtoen implements various reintegration program to prevent children from offending again, and ensure that they are safe and successfully joined with their families and societies.”

She said, “Nazhoen Lamtoen also provides counseling and support services to the children while at the center. Upon their release from the center, we facilitate in providing care, protection, and support and will ensure eventual reintegration with their families and society.

Nazhoen Lamtoen continuously monitors and report on the status of the released children, while also providing services as may be required by them.”

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