SAARC Cultural Centre celebrates Children’s Day 2021

Date : 20-23 December 2021

Venue: Royal Academy of Performing Arts, Bhutan

SAARC Cultural Centre marked the SAARC Children’s Day celebrations for 2021 in association with the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural afairs, Bhutan from 20-23 December 2021 at the Royal Academy of Performing Arts,Thimphu, Bhutan. The programme being non-participatory in nature was organised with the objective of bringing awareness on the issues that children face in the society, and to reach out to the global community on the need to safeguard their values and to  empower their rights. This programme was exclusively proposed at the 11th Governing Board meeting of the SAARC Cultural Centre and eventually witnessed its inaugural edition at this juncture. Participation was very encouraging with students from various schools in Thimphu enagaged. Students were given the opportunity to interact, share thoughts and witness the excitements throughout the programme. Not only the programme delivered the excitement but also remained a learning platform endorsing the traditional dance forms and the instrumental music which kept intact with the objectives. Students participated in several workshops that were organised as part of the celebrations. Chham (Mask Dance) of Bhutan was among the highlights that was practised by most of the students during the event. Meanwhile, there were also instrumental music sessions and singing workshops held for children to get the hands on experience.

Preparartions/ logistic arrangements

Arrangements for the programme were made in advance anticipating the challenges and considering covid protocols. Preparations included pitching event tents and setting up game stalls to evolve the notion of festivity for the occasion. Game stalls were installed to host traditional games such as; khuru, archery, sok-sum etc to give an authentic experience of deep traditional values to children as nowadays the popularity of these games are seen fading among the youth. On the other hand, game stalls added more vibrance with each having its own theme. Amongst the stalls was the ‘Expression Stall’  which garnered much of  attention inviting children to express themselves through drawing and painting words about SAARC Children’s Day. Materials such as; pen, pencil, crayons, color pencils, sketch pens were made available in the stalls for children to use them.

Programme – Main Day

All events of this programme held at the Royal Academy of Performing Arts, Thimphu, Bhutan in a benefitting manner. Initially the programme was scheduled to be held at the Centenary Children’s Park however it was then changed to the former in adherence to Covid protocols. Moreover health guidelines were strictly followed to ensure the well being of the attendees.

Programme was presided by Honrable Minister Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Bhutan along with distinguished representatives and officials from the Ministry,  officials from the SAARC division,  Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other relevant senior government officials and officials from different agencies. Programme commenced with marchang ceremony (a special offering to the deities and spirit of the land and to mark the launch of the important occasion) followed by the welcome speech of Principal, RAPA. Thereafter Honrable Minister interacted with the children about the significance of SAARC Children’s day and delivered the keynote speech on SAARC and its importance on regional cooperation. Following the speech was the cultural performance presented by the students making it a visual treat for the audience garnering their attention. Programme featured more interesting and fun elements when children were joined by Tom & Jerry Mascots and Gaki & Gawa mascots to play,  take pictures and entertain the crowds. Nearing the end of agenda, Vote of thanks was delivered by one of the school children. The Hon’ble chief guest and other guests later joined by the children explored the games stalls and played traditional games such as archery, khuru and sok-sum to mark the fun activities.

An exclusive photo booth was setup at the venue for children to take pictures and capture their memories of excitement and fun. Guests too engaged in the photo session at the designated photo booth stalls and joined the Multi purpose  hall to watch a MTV video which was exclusively released to mark the SAARC Children’s Day 2021. Children were presented a goody bag each consisting of drawing book, crayons, sketch pen, color pencil and a mask as a token of appreciation for their participation in the programme. Finally all the activities came to an end with the feedback sessions and suggestions by guests and children at the expression stall regarding the day’s program.

The SAARC Cultural Centre is grateful to the officials of Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs Thimphu, Bhutan for extending their support in expediting this programme for scheduling amidst the challenging timeframe particularly  in making this event a success. Further SCC hopes to continue this programme in 2022 bestowing the opportunity to the Member State in chronological order inline to the SAARC practice. SCC look forward to celebrate more such occasions with Department of Culture Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs Thimphu, Bhutan in near future.

Post Day

A review was held on 23rd December to improve the quality of the programme for future as well as to assess the program conducted. The concerned individual were asked to submit bills and expenditure to AFD, Department of Culture at the earliest for settlement.

Feedback & Suggestions received through ‘ Expression Stalls’

The program was successfully conducted and all the participated guests  and children  enjoyed the day and lots of appreciation poured in to thank the SAARC culture centre and the host country.