The past year has been very challenging yet it has shaped a lot of new prospects for the people of Bhutan. As the pandemic surfaced and adversely affected numerous lives around the globe, resilience of Bhutanese were demonstrated in being able to come together, supporting one another and finding alternate means of livelihoods mainly in agriculture and food production. Though devastating and daunting at times, the pandemic allowed the spirit of volunteerism to come through and motivated people to make the best of the situation.
With His Majesty The Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck at the frontlines, and with the joint effort of the Central Monastic Body, The Royal Government of Bhutan, Desuups and all the volunteers, Bhutan was successful in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
In line with the government’s food sufficiency programme in response to COVID-19 pandemic, Tarayana Foundation emphasized on the food production programme in the year 2020 for two reasons; firstly to make the rural communities self-sufficient and self-reliant, and secondly to cater to the local market demand.
I am indeed very proud of our communities as they produced enough to sustain themselves as well as surplus to sell at the markets. What was more inspiring was that they were able to contribute to the De-suung offices, old-age homes and hospitals.
Tarayana’s Field Officers have had the opportunity to play a greater role during the national lockdowns in serving our communities with the task force teams of their respective Dzongkhags. They were able to make finances available for the essential goods delivered, constructed shelters for on-duty Desuups, distributed sanitary napkins to boarding schools and assisted in distributing rations & other essential items to the community members. Blood donation camps were organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to address the decrease in blood donors at the hospital due to the pandemic.
Even during these trying times, Tarayana was able to deliver it’s core services such as our housing improvement programme with unfailing support from our partners- the American Himalayan Foundation, Young Presidents Organization, Thai Philanthropists and Bvlgari.
The Foundation was also able to exponentially decrease human-wildlife conflicts and address drinking water shortages in the rural communities with the support of the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation. Capacities of the rural artisans were enhanced, new products developed and market linkages boosted through the SAARC Development Fund, European Union and the Sunline Foundation’s support.
I would like to thank all our partners, supporters, volunteers, community leaders and members, local governments, donors and various development sectors of the Government, without your support our achievements would not have been possible.
I also take this opportunity to offer my deepest gratitude to His Majesty The Druk Gyalpo for selflessly leading the frontlines. His Holiness The Je-Khenpo and the Zhung Dratshang, the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health for their strong leadership and coordinated efforts in ensuring the safety of the people and the country. The crucial roles played by all the front-liners including health workers; Desuups; Royal Bhutan Army; Royal Bhutan Police; the Private Sector and Business communities, and the Civil Society Organizations who continue to actively fight the pandemic is highly appreciated. Most importantly, the cooperation of the Bhutanese people in following the pandemic protocols.