Unlike in the past, the people of the Menchari, Orong Gewog in Samdrup Jonhgkhar no longer have to go Dewathang town to buy household necessities.
This is because a small grocery shop was opened in the gewog a few months ago. People of the Menchari village benefit from the first-ever grocery Tshongkhang. Villagers are happy that they have a small shop from where they get most of what they need in their day-to-day lives.
Today, with the help of Samdrup Jongkhar’s initiatives, Lungten Dema, 29, a young aspiring entrepreneur, has opened a small village grocery shop in Menchari.
“With the help of Samdrup Jongkhar initiative, I open my shop,” she said, adding that today she sells all kinds of groceries that were necessary for people’s daily needs, ranging from soaps, oil, and rice, among others.
Am Chimi from her village shared, “Before we used to go to Dewathang or Samdrup Jongkhar to buy grocery items, but now because of a small shop, life has become far better.”
She also shared that in the past, even to buy one matchbox, they had to travel all the way to Dewathang but “now it has become easy because of the shop she opened.”
She said that, regarding the price, it is more or less reasonable and that she used to buy her necessary household items from the shop, “It is time-consuming, and her shop is benefiting all the people in my village,” she said.
Ap Tshewang Rinzin expressed the same joy at having a shop in his village for the first time. He said, “Since it is the very first shop in the community, it is far more beneficial and time-consuming.”
He added that it has become much easier unlike before, “We have to travel to Samdrup Jongkhar just to buy little stuff.”
Moreover, he said, “sometimes when road accessibility is cut off and in previous years, they had to reserve items.
Kezang Tshomo, 17, also said that the shop has been extremely beneficial in comparison to the previous year and that even though she spends the majority of her time in school, “the importance of the shop feels necessary in the recent year.” She also shared that most people buy things from her shops.
Similarly, the elderly man from the community said that earlier they used to travel all the way from the village to the highway and wait for almost 3–4 hours for a car just to buy necessary items, but he said with the initiative of Samdrup Jongkhar they got at least one shop in their community, which has helped them a lot.
“A grocery store in the community was deemed necessary during the previous two nationwide lockdowns, as well as today,” he said.
Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu