Scouts return to build permanent bridge for villagers
“We will come back and replace this temporary bridge that we’ve built with a sturdy, more permanent bridge for the children and the village.” This was the promise made by the community-based Scouts from the Bhutanese district of Tsirang when they first came to the highly forested village of Barshong in 2015. During that first visit, the Scouts built a temporary bridge made of sand bags. The bridge was especially made for the children in the village to allow them to safely pass through the other side of the Sankosh river and attend their class regularly.
During typhoon season, the villagers had no choice but to let their children stay at home and miss their classes for fear of accidents in the swallowing stream. This equated to children underperforming in school examinations because of the classes they are missing.
Barshong is a small village located in the western part of Tsirang in Bhutan and is known for its gentle slopes and mild climate. It is about 700 to 1,500 metres above sea level with 53% of its land area under forest cover, mainly of broad-leafy trees.
Four years after the first visit, the community-based Scouts of Tsirang went back to the village to replace the temporary bridge with a more permanent structure – a concrete bridge made of hard-wearing logs, stones and sand bags.
To realise the project, the team, co-ordinated by school teacher Kinley Dorji, sourced out donations from community members and volunteers to defray the expenses for construction materials. Manpower came from a pool of volunteers composed of Scouts, members of the community, and some teachers from nearby schools.
After a few days of work, the bridge finally became operational, and was immediately used by the villagers to reach the other side of the river. Parents are no longer wary for the safety of their children.
“The project will surely improve the social well-being of the community by way of ensuring their safety,” said Kinley Dorji who co-ordinated all efforts to complete the project. “With this hitch out of the way, we expect an increase in the daily attendance of school children and a better academic performance.”
With reports from the Bhutan Scouts Association