Lobneykha Chiwog under Chapcha Gewog, Chukha, initiated the construction of a private Shedra (monastic school) to retain monks in their village.
A committee member of the building committee, Kado Dukpa, said, “We came up with this idea thinking that we can keep and preserve our culture as before,” he said.
He said that in the olden days, they had enough monks including ex-monks to perform any kind of rituals and to conduct annual religious rites and ceremony in the village, however, with time he said that monks died and some migrated to town for a business.
“We don’t get people to conduct any ritual in the village. For instance, we conduct 5 days Tshechu in village every year, and during those times, it is hard for us to get monks and Lam as they will be engaged in some other programs in their respective Shedras.”
Kado Dukpa said a very few number of people conduct their annual religious rites in village as it is hard for them find people to conduct the ritual, which indirectly hampers their tradition and culture.
Therefore, the discussions on this issue came into focus in 2016, and an eight-member committee was formed to address the issue after numerous meetings with the people in the Chiwog.
Approval from the dzongkhag came on 8 February 2018 and the construction began on 12 March 2018.
According to Kado Dukpa, since there are Shedras in every dzongkhag, they did not get any funding support from dzongkhag. After much discussion, the committee decided to construct a 2- storied structure where they can accommodate a maximum of 30 students.
The committee collected money from the people of the chiwog. “For the collection of money for the construction of Shedra, we have categorized the collection in five different types. From category A and B, we are collecting minimum of Nu 100,000 whereby some they committed to donate up to Nu 300,000.”
Category C calls for Nu 50,000 contribution. “The villagers are collecting Nu 30,000 from every household. They are collecting minimum of Nu 3,000. Those are the minimum set amount for each category, however, they can contribute more than that if they are willing,” he added.
The estimated amount for the construction of Shedra comes around Nu 8.2 mn whereby the contributed amount from the people of the Chiwog comes around Nu 5.5 mn. However, the committee has put up a letter to the gewog for additional funds.
In addition, the committee is thankful to Chukha Dzongkhag Administration for their support in giving no objection letter for the construction and for helping them with passes for Indian labourers to work on the construction of the Shedra.
He said a private land was purchased by the committee to construct the Shedra. The land was transferred in the name of the lhakhang in the village.
Kado Dukpa said, “All the expenses regarding the construction, buying things for the Shedra, payment for the labourers will be done from the collected money.”
Once the Shedra is completed, he said that they will announce the available seats in various media and they would accept monks from every corner of Bhutan.