Since 2010 I have been working as a culture and education specialist and photographer for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Bhutan in a project on “Preserving and Leveraging Bhutan’s Unique Cultural Diversity”; within this project I am conducting a participatory photo project in four remote communities in Bhutan (with Khengpas in Ngalatrong/Zhemgang, with Sharchops in Kengkhar/Mongar, with Lhops in Lotokuchu/Samtse and with Rais in Lumbey/Samtse).
I teach school students and NFE learners in these remote places how to use digital cameras in order to explore and document their own cultural and social habitat in the village.
With this participatory photo project we try to build different kind of bridges:
– between the traditional and the modern world
– between the old and the young generation
– between the villagers with their precious traditional knowledge and the modern education at the local schools
– between the rural and the urban population
Here you can download a leaflet with more detailed information on the participatory photo project.
It was in 2005 when I came for the first time to Bhutan. For a period of 3 months I conducted workshops in digital photography to young students, art teachers and police men. While doing this I began to discover the many aspects of Bhutanese culture and life. I followed a course in Dzongkha language. After six weeks and a trip to Bumthang I began to realise that 3 months would be a much too short time for me to be in Bhutan. Luckily I was asked by the people I worked for if I would like to come back and continue with my work. I realised that I was touched deeply in so many ways by what I have seen and experienced. In Bhutan most of my deepest interests and needs as a human being are getting nourished. So I agreed happily. I reorganised my work as a teacher for visual arts in Switzerland and began to live and work -more or less regularly- half the year in Bhutan and the other half in Switzerland.
In Switzerland – the country where I was born and where I have lived most of my life – at the end of a normal day I often feel exhausted and somehow rather unsatisfied, having the overall impression that modern life is asking a bit more than it is able to give.
In Bhutan, most of the time I go to bed with the feeling that my heart, my body and my soul have been nourished very well during that day. And in Bhutan -especially in the remote areas- I have made the experience many times that I can go wherever I want and I am quite sure I would meet people who are open to me, sharing with me who they are and what they have, introducing me to their community and their way of life.
For this wonderful gift I am so much thankful. Nami sami kadhinche..
With this blog I want to give insight into my life and work in Bhutan and Switzerland and the travels in between.
I am grateful for your comments and feedback. 🙂