Cashing in on TRASH

Ugyen Choden’s story is like no other.From a nondescript rural setting in Trashigang, her journey to Thimphu has been nothing short of re-markable. The financial instability at home forced her to discontinue her studies while she was still studying in Class VIII. She was barely 17 when she tied the knot. By the time she turned 20, she had become a mother to a baby girl.

Soon, she settled to a life of domestication – tending to and looking after her family and managing day-to -day household chores. Yet, deep down, although she held on to the sparks of her childhood dreams of becoming a teacher, the fact that she was a school dropout proved to be a big deterrence.

But today, at 27, Ugyen is an achiever. It all began when a friend learned about Tarayana’s outreach and mobilization programme on Waste Management and persuaded her to enroll.

“The program has taught me to believe in myself,” she says. “Above all, it has taught me that although I am a school dropout, a wife and a mother, nothing is beyond reach.”

She is thankful, saying Tarayana provides the foundation and training for women like her to realize their dreams.

The Waste Management Training was organized by Tarayana with assistance from the Asian Development Bank, with the objective of reaching out to low income groups, particularly women.

“The training has equipped me to earn an income and has educated me about the environment,” she says. “Because of that, I am much more aware of the harm we inflict on the environment.” She recalls that up until the training, she hadn’t heard of waste segregation – let alone recycling.

Today, recycling waste to make all sorts of products not only keeps Ugyen busy and brings in the extra money, it also gives her the self-confidence to believe in herself and make a difference to her community every  day.