DHARAMSHALA: When asked why education is important, one student stated “to make our futures bright and our community proud”. This was just one of the voices of the numerous young student leaders who attended the first day of the Workshop for Adolescent Peer Group Leaders in Dharamshala.

The workshop is running from the 20th – 23rd of August 2019 and was organized by the Department of Health, CTA. The participants of this workshop consist of 62 student leaders from 31 different branches of the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV), Central School for Tibetans (CST), Sambhota Tibetan Schools (STS), and Tibetan Homes Foundation (THF) from communities all across India such as Mungod, Dheradun, Dharamshala, and many more. Meanwhile, the Substance Abuse Review Cum Meeting Workshop is being provided to the teachers who have come along with the students. Each teacher from the 31 different schools will attend the substance abuse review meeting cum workshop for the four days at Hotel Tibet, Mcleod Ganj.

This four-day workshop kicked off on 20th August with a welcoming from Palden Dhondup (Health Secretary), Jampa Phuntsok (Additional Secretary), Tsering Youdon (Joint Secretary), and Tenzin Kunsang (Deputy Secretary).

In the inaugural speech by the Health Secretary, Palden Dhondup mentioned the importance of educating the youngsters about health issues particularly the psychological and biological issues during the adolescent period. He remarked on the importance to uphold and guide the teenagers and importance to teach about the adolescent health to the youngsters.

About the parents role in guiding the children during the adolescent period, Secretary said “Parenting skills during the stage of adolescence bears significance too. Teenagers at this age tend to be curious about a lot of things and sometimes due to negligence strays to the wrong path. This is when parenting skills are required to teach and guide them to the right path.”

He further advised the teachers and the students to engage and talk with the students going through hard times rather than excluding them.

He requested the participants to actively engage and participate in the workshop and to put forward questions and doubts rather than staying quite and timid. He said, “Students who are here, will be representing your respective schools, so it is necessary to be voice of your school.”

Lastly, Tsering Youdon, Joint secretary of the Department delivered the vote of thanks.

The facilitators of the Workshop for Adolescent Peer Group Leaders are Ms. Rekha Chauhan and Ms. Akshita Sharma from the organization Expression India in New Delhi. The first day of the workshop had the students discussing the topics of the challenges of adolescence and necessary life skills e.g. empathy, interpersonal skills, and problem solving. The two facilitators used interactive and group-based activities to get the students to be actively thinking about these themes.

As the workshop continues in the following days, these 62 peer leaders will gain the knowledge and skills needed on how to better themselves, their school, and their community for a brighter future.

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