Greetings from Bhutan!
On behalf of the staff and students of Choki Traditional Art School, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to you for your contributions in making it possible for CTAS to add a beautiful facility the ‘Sherab Khangzang’ building that has become the pride of the school. This beautiful spacious new building has enabled natural lighting for study besides creating sufficient classrooms, staff room, practical rooms and indoor toilets making learning at CTAS ever more enjoyable and conducive. The students are extremely happy and morally boosted with such an uplift of facility in the school. The building will play a great role in imparting quality education to the students.
Students and staff in front of the new classroom building expressing their gratitute to all the supporters for creating this wonderful infrastructure and facilities.
Choki Traditional Art School is in its 22nd year of offering Art Education in Bhutan. Since the establishment of the school in the year 1999, 244 students have successfully graduated, while hundreds have left in between before completion of their chosen course of study, most often due to family and personal issues. Although unable to complete their courses, many of these students have nonetheless gone forward to earn their living through the skills acquired at CTAS. The school has therefore contributed in producing skilled and professional artisans who are now actively pursuing successful careers in arts and crafts across the country. They have not only done well for themselves but have contributed to the country’s efforts in the preservation of the culture which is one of the pillars of Gross National Happiness. In fact, the CTAS alumni actively participates and supports the school’s activities.
The school currently is faced with a major constraint with the existing multipurpose hall, which is located in the ground floor of the office building. The hall is used for various purposes such as dining, prayers, educational, cultural activities and conferences for large meetings. Its capacity is limited to accommodate only 90-100 people thus leading to overcrowding with more than 160 students in the campus. During the meal time, students have to eat their food sitting on the stage and outside the hall. The same issue exists during the conduct of cultural programs and other educational activities, where around 30-40% of the students have to be outside, as the hall cannot accommodate all the students, teachers and guests. This situation is worsened during rainy season and in winter, posing a huge challenge to conduct activities and programs.
Additionally, as part of a major sustainability strategy, 20-25% of the school operation budget is met through the sale of artifacts produced by the students during their training. However, due to lack of proper storage facilities and sales display at the school, it has become difficult to generate the expected revenue for sustenance, thereby posing a grave concern. The 300-year-old mud house which is currently used for exhibiting the students’ products and sale is damp which damages the products especially the paintings and textiles with fungus. With a single window and poor lighting, the issue is further exacerbated when there is power failure. The floor area has limited space for display which remains wet throughout summer due to the rainy season.
Despite the repeated maintenance of the floor and the drains to clear the water seepage, the problem has not been resolved. A permanent solution cannot be achieved without a major renovation on the foundation of the house which will be exorbitantly expensive and risky especially since the structure itself has suffered some major damages from the 2011 earthquake
Understanding these challenges faced by the school, Alan & Patricia Bickell have once again volunteered to support construct a new multipurpose hall which will ease the existing congested dining & meeting space and address the sustainability strategy through enhanced sales. Towards this construction, they will match all gifts received until December 2022. The proposed construction is aligned with the following campus master plan taking into account the proximity from road and other amenities.
(Aglimpse of the overall CTAS campus with the location of the proposed Multipurpose Hall Construction circled in orange)
With this new building, the school will have a large flexible space for student dining, co-curricular activities, conduct large scale educational meetings & conferences, and cultural programs. The students can exhibit shows, eat their meal comfortably, and participate in the educational programs and co curricular activities. Furthermore, with the superior facility, the school can expect to increase the sale of the school products and meet its targeted operation budget thereby help realize its sustainability goal. Also, with the additional space, the school can take opportunity to create a model to showcase the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.
The CTAS receives a number of small high end tour groups and expect increasing number of visitors particularly after tourism resumes from the post Covid 19 pandemic. The additional facility will enable inclusion of a cafeteria/restaurant in the new building that is envisaged to provide a conducive environment for visitors to the school and also an opportunity to generate some income through its rent.
Peter Schmidt, a Swiss architect and long-term resident of Bhutan, has carried out the technical drawings and site plan. He has extensive experience in designing Bhutanese educational facilities and government offices, including our new classroom building. The estimated cost of construction is US$555,000 (five hundred fifty-five thousand).
Below is the architectural design of the new proposed building (the two basement floors will be used as a multipurpose hall and the ground floor will be used as the sales and cafeteria/restaurant/room):
This project cannot be realized without your support. Your kindness and support received so far has given us hope and inspiration to continue on this journey and make a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of youth in Bhutan. The school would not have been successful without the generous support received from each of you. The CTAS has been very fortunate to have compassionate well-wishers and supporters like you, who have all along the education journey provided support, enabling the school to reach its goal to provide high quality sustainable education program.
(The size of the proposed Multipurpose Hall building is 11987 sqft)
We would once again like to request your support to enable us to achieve this project enhance our ability to provide high-quality education and achieve sustainability. Your every donation means a lot not only to the students, but also the parents and the community at large. Apart from empowering the unprivileged youth and equipping them with a better life, your support has enabled the preservation and promotion of Bhutan’s rich art and culture, which is one of the pillars of Gross National Happiness. Being confronted with these challenges, we couldn’t help but solicit your contributions again. We hope to commence the construction by mid-2023 and complete within the next eighteen months (Dec 2024).
The following categories of fund support are presented below for your consideration. We look forward to your continued support.
Any amount up to USD $999
USD $1,000 - USD $ 9,999
USD $10,000 - USD $ 49,000
USD $ 50,000 or more