Tarayana takes more vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple un­der its wings

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

Tarayana Foun­da­tion is touch­ing the lives of the Bhutanese poor in a sub­stan­tial and sus­tained way.

Tarayana’s so­cial devel­op­ment pro­gram helps vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in ru­ral Bhutan. It pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for life im­prove­ment to vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties in Bhutan.

The pro­gramme is aimed at en­hanc­ing ru­ral lives by pro­vid­ing hous­ing for vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies, sup­port for the el­derly, young chil­dren, and those with special needs.

The foun­da­tion’s hous­ing im­prove­ment pro­gramme, ac­cord­ing to its 2015 an­nual report, has achieved a land­mark.

By the end of 2015, 141 houses were com­pleted – 45 at the Ru­ral Eco­nomic Ad­vance­ment Pro­gram (REAP) sites and 96 in Nam­gyel Taba and Ngawang Ram­toed in Samtse, Phumzur in Trongsa and Lamthang in Zhem­gang, ac­cord­ing to the report. Till date, the foun­da­tion has built about 1,200 new houses and ren­o­vated about 200 houses.

The foun­da­tion first im­ple­mented the hous­ing im­prove­ment pro­gramme among the Lhop com­mu­ni­ties of South-Western Bhutan rec­og­niz­ing that the own­er­ship of a proper house leads to bet­ter self con­fi­dence and a ba­sis on which to build in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments and ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in the devel­op­ment pro­gresses.

Hous­ing im­prove­ment is one of the Tarayana’s core ac­tiv­i­ties tar­geted at holis­tic com­mu­nity devel­op­ment model which was de­vel­oped while work­ing in Rukha un­der Wang­duepho­drang Dzongkha 2007-2008.

To­day Tarayana works in 305 vil­lages in 16 dzongkhags.

Tarayana’s so­cial devel­op­ment pro­gramme spans across ru­ral hous­ing, med­i­cal care, so­cial in­clu­sion, ed­u­ca­tion and green tech­nolo­gies.

Speak­ing to BT, the Pro­gram Of­fi­cer of Tarayana foun­da­tion, Sonam Pem, said the foun­da­tion sup­plies the ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing Cor­ru­gated Gal­vanised Iron (CGI) sheets, fa­cil­i­tates ob­tain­ing tim­ber per­mit, lag tharm, clear­ance from the dzongkhag and land record of­fice.

Tarayana forms groups in the com­mu­ni­ties and makes them draw lots to see whose house will be built first. The com­mu­nity peo­ple do not get paid for their labour. They ex­change labour to build one another’s house.

Be­sides, the foun­da­tion also as­sists in build­ing toi­lets, set­ting up kitchen gar­den for food se­cu­rity and nutri­tion, and starts in­come gen­er­a­tion through self-help groups. Sonam Pem said that, through this project, Tarayana helps the vil­lage peo­ple hone their tra­di­tional artis­tic skills and make their prod­ucts more maketable.

Tarayana op­er­ated a mi­cro fi­nance un­til 2013 which have the com­mu­nity mem­bers op­por­tu­ni­ties to start small en­ter­prises in­di­vid­u­ally and in groups.

The foun­da­tion repli­cates the Holis­tic Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment model (Rukha Model) in eleven dzongkhags in­clud­ing Wang­duepho­drang, Gasa, Tsir­ang, Mon­gar, Pema­gat­shel, Lhuntse, Trongsa, Samtse, Haa, Sarpang and Zhem­gang.

Tarayana of­fers sup­port to the peo­ple from ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties to ac­cess re­fer­ral treat­ment in the dis­trict hos­pi­tals. There­fore, 13 restora­tive sur­gi­cal camps were con­ducted in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Min­istry of Health by the end of the De­cem­ber 2015.

The foun­da­tion’s 2015 an­nual report says 108 in­di­vid­u­als re­ceived cor­rec­tive surg­eries for cleft palates and lips, burn victims and those wounded by wild an­i­mals. The camps pro­vide ac­cess to restora­tive surg­eries for those liv­ing in ru­ral Bhutan where such fa­cil­i­ties are not read­ily avail­able.

It helps pa­tient ac­cess med­i­cal treat­ment and has learnt that the ma­jor­ity of pa­tients are from ru­ral ar­eas and there is a need to ed­u­cate ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties as a pre­vent mea­sures.

The foun­da­tion ini­ti­ated the an­nual Pil­grim­age to Bodh Gaya for se­nior cit­i­zens from re­mote vil­lages that would oth­er­wise not be able to un­der­take the pil­grim­age on their own.

Be­sides, the foun­da­tion also set up the first ever Com­mu­nity Ra­dio “Edi Com­mu­nity Ra­dio” in Dechen Pelri vil­lage, Sarpang and sec­ond ra­dio sta­tion “Doya Com­mu­nity Ra­dio” in Dorokha, Samtse, com­plete with as­sis­tance from the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (MoIC), which was funded by the Swiss Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (SDC) and tech­ni­cal guidance re­ceived from NOMAD, In­dia.

Ac­cord­ing to the report, the se­lected com­mu­nity mem­bers were trained on de­vel­op­ing pro­gram for com­mu­nity ra­dio, ba­sic tech­ni­cal knowl­edge (as­sem­bling and main­te­nance), us­ing proper soft­ware, edit­ing pro­gram, ba­sic code of con­duct and ethics for sta­tion sup­ported by the De­part­ment of In­for­ma­tion and Me­dia, MoIC, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with UNESCO.

The com­mu­nity mem­bers own and op­er­ate the sta­tions which raise aware­ness, in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and news an­nounce­ments as well as for en­ter­tain­ment pur­pose.

Be­sides, the foun­da­tion also un­der­took the sur­veys in Samtse, Haa, Lhuntse and Bumthang iden­ti­fy­ing a to­tal of 838 peo­ple with dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties of which hear­ing im­pair­ment was the most com­mon form of dis­abil­ity. Cur­rently, the data anal­y­sis of the sur­vey for all the 20 dis­tricts is un­der process.

Tarayana is im­ple­ment­ing part­ners of the gov­ern­ment’s largest tar­geted poverty re­duc­tion pro­gramme REAP, funded by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia and ex­e­cuted by the Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness Com­mis­sion.

Tarayana Foun­da­tion was founded by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and for­mally launched on 4 May 2003 by His Majesty the King Jigme Kh­e­sar Nam­gyel Wangchuck when he was the Crown Prince.

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