Tarayana takes more vulnerable people under its wings
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.