Ability Bhutan Society
Ability Bhutan Society (ABS) was officially registered on November 10, 2011, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, as a civil society organization. ABS was founded with the vision for a “compassionate and just society” as laid out by His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Its founding was driven by the concerns of Bhutanese parents of children with special needs about the opportunities available to them. These parents sought equal access to quality education, safe and nurturing environments for development, and specially trained caregivers to provide the highest level of care for their children. Since its inception in 2011, ABS has worked to meet the needs of almost 21 percent of Bhutanese children who have a disability in at least one functional domain as identified in UNICEF’s Two-Stage Disability Study conducted in 2011. ABS’s efforts have been most intensively focused on meeting the needs of the approximately 7,000 children with moderate to severe disabilities. This primarily includes providing free, quality education for all children up to 10th grade, regardless of their special needs, and as ensured in Bhutan’s Constitution. Ability Bhutan Society is working with the Bhutan Foundation and its other partners, including the Anderson Center for Autism, Australian Volunteers for International Development, the Bhutan Canada Foundation, Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan, Draktsho Vocational Training Center for Special Children and Youth, the Ministry of Education, Perkins International, and UNICEF Bhutan, to develop special education programming in Bhutan.
Bhutan Cancer Society
Bhutan Cancer Society (BCS) is a civil society organization founded by Ms. Dechen Wangmo, a public health specialist, and Dr. Ugyen Tshomo, a Gynae-oncologist at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck. BCS is the only nonprofit organization established for the benefit of the cancer patient, caregiver, and general population in Bhutan with the mission to improve cancer care and reduce the incidence of cancer through cancer control activities (education, prevention, and research) and provide psychosocial support to those affected by cancer. In addition to leading numerous awareness and advocacy campaigns targeted at all segments of the Bhutanese population, BCS works on creating a network of cancer survivors and cancer patients to help create a strong community. The Bhutan Foundation supports the work of the Bhutan Cancer Society to strengthen the population-based cancer registry at the JDWNRH and to provide cancer control services in prevention, treatment, palliative, and supportive care to nunneries in Bhutan.
Bhutan Center For Media and Democracy
The Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy (BCMD) was founded in the transition period that followed the proclamation of democracy in Bhutan in 2008 and is Bhutan’s first registered civil society organization. The transition to democracy was ushered in by a simultaneous proliferation of media. It was in the wake of this dual development that BCMD was established to encourage a higher standard for media in Bhutan that would also promote a culture of democracy through media education and professional support to those in the media sector. BCMD is working on cross-cutting issues concerning Bhutan’s youth, environment, society, education, and governance. In order to engage civil society in a discourse, BCMD has placed a special focus on the youth of Bhutan through their Media Lab program. BCMD and the Bhutan Foundation have worked together on good governance advocacy, completing briefings to parliament to help lawmakers understand the role of media and the relationship between media and democracy. In addition, BCMD and the Foundation have worked together on media literacy and civic engagement education workshops.
Bhutan Ecological Society
The Bhutan Ecological Society (BES) was founded in 2010 under the leadership of Her Royal Highness Ashi Chimi Yangzom and Dasho Paljor J. Dorji to promote environmental conservation efforts in Bhutan. The mission of the Bhutan Ecological Society is to promote conservation research and sharing of ecological knowledge in Bhutan through publication, seminars, and trainings. The vision for this sharing of knowledge is to operate in an advisory role to guide policy makers, government institutions, and Bhutanese citizens on current and emerging environmental issues in Bhutan. BES’s work is focused on educating, engaging, and inspiring youth and the public to discover nature and participate in conservation efforts. It is BES’s belief that only through the engagement of all stakeholders in the process of conservation will the goal of maintaining a diverse and robust ecosystem be possible. The Bhutan Foundation, the Bhutan Trust Fund, the Karuna Foundation, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment, and WWF Bhutan currently support the work of the Bhutan Ecological Society. The Bhutan Foundation continues to support BES through the Annual Environmental Research Symposium and Fair in Bhutan.
Bhutan Media Foundation
The Bhutan Media Foundation (BMF) was founded in February 2010 as a non-profit under a Royal Charter of His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. BMF works to sustain and encourage the development of democracy and civic participation through the development of meaningful media and quality journalism. BMF believes that media can play a transformative role in governance and citizen participation and so is a proponent of free and open media in Bhutan. BMF’s beneficiaries include all Bhutanese citizens as well as all licensed and operating media agencies in Bhutan. The Bhutan Media Foundation works toward the development of media literacy, awareness, sustainability, and professionalism in Bhutan. In addition, BMF encourages the use of national language in media and the creation of an enabling environment for media development. The Bhutan Media Foundation works in partnership with the Bhutan Foundation, the International Republican Institute, and the US Agency for International Development to promote good governance programming in Bhutan.
Bhutan National Baseball League
With the support of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, the Bhutan National Baseball League (BNBL) was established in 2014 with the mission to promote a sporting culture and create awareness of physical fitness to Bhutanese youth and adults.
Co-founded by Karma Dorji and American resident Matthew DeSantis, the BNBL, based in Bhutan’s capital city of Thimphu, consists of a youth league, adult league, and national team. The BNBL is also involved in an annual training program to promote the development of sports in Bhutan’s more remote regions.
Within a week after introducing baseball to Bhutan, the sport quickly became popular in the nation’s capital. Over 400 youth (aged 6 to 18) arrived at the track & field each day to learn to play. Many of these youth were the children of the Royal Bhutan Army; whose barracks stood nearby. The children trained and played eight hours per day and six days per week for over a year; which led to the formation of our youth league. By the third year, our adult league was formed. Finally, through an invitation by the national team in Nepal to compete in a Southeast Asian tournament, the Bhutan national team was formed.
To date, the BNBL has received support from its sponsors — MyBhutan and Wilton High School. However, as more youth and adults become interested in the program, the league’s access to fields, equipment, and coaching staff have become too limited to support the demand. Please consider donating today to help raise funds to provide the opportunity for all interested youth and adults to be able to participate in the sport.
Bhutan Nuns Foundation
The Bhutan Nuns Foundation (BNF) is a nonprofit established in 2009 under the patronage of Her Majesty Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. Its mission is to improve the well-being and education of nuns in Bhutan so that they may in turn contribute to the promotion of cultural and spiritual values in broader society. BNF advocates the importance of the role of women in Bhutan so as to ensure that all girls and women are valued and have equal access to quality education and fulfilling life regardless of income, status, or geographic location. Today, there are approximately 1,000 young women and girl nuns living in 26 nunneries throughout Bhutan. The achievement and work toward this goal strongly supports and echo those of the values of Gross National Happiness toward the promotion of cultural, and sustainable and equitable, development. Thus, BNF seeks to make nuns and nunneries leading agents and self-reliant institutions for women. The Bhutan Foundation supports the work of the Bhutan Nuns’ Foundation to serve the girls and women in the nunneries throughout Bhutan by providing access to water supply, providing workshops on sanitation and nutrition, and promoting BNF’s work.
Bhutan Youth Development Fund
The Bhutan Youth Development Fund (BYDF) was founded to support the youth of Bhutan in realizing their full potential as productive citizens. BYDF sustains various youth programs through the formal school curriculum, through extracurricular activities that promote the preservation of culture and traditions, and through recreational and sporting events. BYDF also provides programming such as career counseling and skills development to enhance employment opportunities for youth, special programming for physically and mentally challenged children, scholarships for disadvantaged youth, and support for participation of youth in international events, as well as addresses the needs of juvenile delinquents and school dropouts. BYDF has partnered with the Bhutan Foundation to provide assistance on projects with a particular emphasis on disadvantaged youth, including those who are disabled, unemployed, out of school, juvenile delinquents, and others from remote or otherwise marginalized areas. In particular, the Bhutan Foundation has supported YDF’s Bhutan Souvenir Production and Training Center and programming aimed at helping children with special needs.
Clean Bhutan was established in February of 2014 as a volunteer-based non-profit organization and became registered as a Civil Society Organization (CSO) under the Civil Society Organizations Authority later that year. Its mission is to change the mindset of every Bhutanese individual to be a responsible citizen and practice sustainable consumption by using available resources most efficiently.
Clean Bhutan raises awareness for Bhutanese citizens about the effects our behavior and habits have on the environment in order to manage and reduce waste generation. As Bhutan is beginning to experience rapid socio-economic development, waste management is becoming a major concern. In response to that growing issue, Clean Bhutan informs the citizens of Bhutan through advocacy programs about negative impacts on the environment and human health from waste. It also aims to develop mechanisms on how to manage and reduce waste at the source. Today, the organization provides a wide network of registered members and volunteers who participate in creating awareness throughout the country.
Disabled Persons' Association of Bhutan
The Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan (DPAB) was founded in 2010 as a public benefit organization. It works in close partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan toward the advancement of the disabled people of Bhutan. DPAB works to provide better tools, facilities, and services to disabled citizens and to equip them with strategies and techniques to enable them to live fulfilling and productive lives. In addition to these tangible efforts, the Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan also builds public awareness about the rights of all people regardless of ability and works to diminish the stigma associated with these members of Bhutanese society. Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan is working collaboratively with the Bhutan Foundation to improve access to resources for individuals with disabilities. In addition, the Bhutan Foundation supports DPAB’s efforts to help transition individuals with disabilities into jobs to live independently.
Draktsho Vocational Training Center for Special Children and Youth
The Draktsho Vocational Training Center for Special Children and Youth was founded in 2001 under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck. Draktsho was established to provide educational and vocational training opportunities to the children and youth of Bhutan who often do not have such opportunities. Draktsho is tasked with providing programming for developing vocational and life skills in children and youth with disabilities to enable their self-reliance and independence. Draktsho also offers opportunities for employment that will enable youth to live fulfilling lives as productive members of society. They work to initiate dialogue on inclusion and to end the stigma of ineptitude often associated with persons with disabilities. Their mission also sees the importance of providing counseling and training to the parents and families of children with disabilities. Draktsho was the very first advocacy organization of its kind in Bhutan working to fill the gap and supplement the special education programming and training opportunities offered through the Ministry of Education. A large part of its work is dedicated to building partnerships and collaborative networks with various stakeholders (government, institutions, and industries) to promote equal opportunities for the inclusion of individuals with special needs. Draktsho is currently working to expand its operations further in eastern Bhutan with Draktsho East to serve the needs of disabled persons in the more remote areas of Bhutan. The Bhutan Foundation supports the work of Draktsho through building capacity of its teachers as well as supporting awareness programs.
Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan
Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) was established in 2015 to develop human resources for health-care delivery systems in Bhutan. The University’s vision is to become “a premier centre of excellence in medical education, research, and quality healthcare.” The University will develop training and research programs based on the latest principles and health needs, as well as produce health professionals who embody compassion, wisdom, values, and traditions of the unique health-care system of Bhutan. To fulfil the aspirations and the mission of the University, the Bhutan Foundation is partnering with KGUMSB in supporting faculty development, training programs, and health research in Bhutan. Together, we are working to launch Bhutan’s first health journal, Bhutan Health Journal, in November 2015. The Foundation is also helping KGUMSB establish partnerships and linkages with renowned academic institutions and organizations in the United States.
The Lhomon Society
The Lhomon Society was founded in 2010 by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, a highly revered Buddhist master and scholar, and, in 2012, it was formally registered as a civil society organization. The mission of the Lhomon Society is to “uphold, support, and promote sustainable development in the Kingdom of Bhutan through grassroots, holistic education and training initiatives.” “Lhomon” is evocative of the connection deeper than government and national borders, which unites the people of the region south of the Tibetan plateau. The central projects of the Society are the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative and the Lhomon Education Initiative. The Society aims to combat the modern wave of consumerism, wastefulness, and conflict that seems to pervade our daily lives through grassroots initiatives and trainings to help the citizens of Bhutan chart an independent and sustainable course that encourages equitable economic development, environmental conservation, cultural promotion, quality education, and good governance. The Bhutan Foundation continues to support the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative(SJI) in their focus areas of organic agriculture, zero waster, youth engagement, and Lho Mon Education. SJI continues to do important work in rural areas in Bhutan to establish food security and self-sufficiency, protect and enhance our natural environment, strengthen communities, stem rural-urban migration tides and foster cooperative, productive, and entrepreneurial spirit.
The Loden Foundation
The Loden Foundation dedicates itself to fostering an enlightened and happy society in Bhutan through promotion of entrepreneurship, education and transmission of cultural values. Dr. Karma Phuntsho, a leading scholar on Buddhism and Himalayan cultures, established the Loden Foundation in 2000 and the Loden Entrepreneurship Program started in 2008. The Loden Foundation’s main projects include the following: the Loden Entrepreneurship Program, the Loden Student Empowerment through Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) Program, Scholarships for young children and higher education, Early Learning centers and Documentation and study of Bhutan’s written heritage and oral traditions. By 2017, the Loden Foundation has trained over 3200 young people on entrepreneurship and funded 145 entrepreneurial ventures including 42 female entrepreneurs. It promotes ethical entrepreneurship and has developed a unique mentoring program which helps young entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. The Bhutan Foundation supports Loden Entrepreneurship and Mentorship Program.
Department of Forest and Park Services, MoAF
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests is tasked with the promotion and protection of the environment and Bhutan’s forests. The Ministry’s mission encompasses a vision for “sustaining Bhutan’s forest resources and biodiversity for the happiness of the present and future generations.” The Department of Forests and Park Services focuses its efforts on conservation and management of natural resources and biodiversity to ensure social, economic, and environmental well-being. The central goal of its work is to maintain a minimum of 60 percent of the land as a forest and jungle at all times. Its broader goals also include ensuring adherence to both regional and international commitments, conventions, and treaties through policies, legislations, and specific strategies and programming. The Ministry’s programming is nationwide but also includes community-centered educational programs and training on conservation and self-sustaining rural initiatives. The Department of Forests and Park Services has partnered with the Bhutan Foundation on wild-cats programming, including conservation of Bhutan’s mountain tigers and the Jomolhari Snow Leopard Conservation Program.
Division for the Conservation of Architectural Heritage Sites, MoHCA
The Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites (DCHS) was founded under the direction of the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of the Government of Bhutan. The Division is responsible for the creation of an inventory, surveyance, and publication of the history of the structures recognized as heritage sites throughout Bhutan; providing technical and administrative support to all 20 Dzongkhags; establishing and regulating the guidelines regarding the construction of new cultural buildings; and the restoration, renovation, and conservation of heritage sites and structures. The Division for Conservation of Architectural Heritage Sites is working with the Bhutan Foundation, Tsao & McKown Architects, World Monuments Fund, and the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation on the restoration and adaptive reuse of the Wangduechhoeling Palace. Additional projects that the Foundation has worked with DCHS include the restoration of Drametse Lhakhang and fire mitigation at Trashigang Dzong in Eastern Bhutan in partnership with the World Monuments Fund and the Prince Claus Fund.
Ministry of Education, ECCD and Special Education Division
The Ministry of Education is tasked with upholding the requirements of the Bhutanese Constitution to provide a cost-free, quality education for all children through the tenth grade, regardless of socioeconomic background, ability, and/or geographic location. The Division for Special Education and Early Childhood Care is responsible for ensuring that all children and youth with disabilities receive an education. The division develops programs in twelve schools to serve the needs of children and youth with special needs throughout Bhutan. The success of Bhutan’s Special Education Program is being achieved through a partnership with Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan, Ability Bhutan Society, Anderson Center for Autism, AVID (Australian Volunteers for International Development), The Bhutan Canada Foundation, Draktsho Vocational Training Center for Special Children and Youth, Perkins International, UNICEF Bhutan, and the Bhutan Foundation. The Bhutan Foundation has continued to work with all partners involved in the Special Education Program in Bhutan for the last eight years and has primarily partnered with the Ministry of Education in developing the Special Education Program in public schools across 12 schools throughout Bhutan.
Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan
The Ministry of Health works to provide the highest quality medical services to all citizens in Bhutan through both traditional and modern means. The Ministry aims at ensuring sustainable, responsive, equitable, accessible, reliable, and affordable socialized health services to all in Bhutan. The Ministry of Health and the Bhutan Foundation have partnered together on a wide range of health-care service projects throughout Bhutan. These projects have involved mainly emergency, trauma, and lifesaving trainings. The Foundation has been able to improve the Emergency Medical Services of Bhutan through the support of our international partners, such as the Clinical Data Management, DBA Trauma Program Services LLC, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Health Volunteers Overseas, and Phelps Memorial Hospital Center.
Music of Bhutan Research Centre
The Music of Bhutan Research Centre (MBRC) is a registered civil society organization that was founded in 2008 by renowned musician Kheng Sonam Dorji to research, document, preserve, and promote the traditional music of Bhutan. Historically, the people of Bhutan have shared a distinctive oral culture, creating remarkable songs and dances to observe their most important rituals, to celebrate and socialize, and to accompany and ease their labors. From generation to generation, people have used these artistic forms to express and transmit knowledge, experiences, and values at the core of Bhutanese life. Yet with the recent influx of development, globalization, and technology, Bhutan is changing. There is a critical need to document and support Bhutan’s intangible musical heritage, which is known fully only by aging elders and in the most remote communities before it is lost. The Music of Bhutan Research Centre (MBRC) is leading this effort. MBRC aims to break new ground by professionally researching, recording, and archiving the full geographic, historic, linguistic, and ethnic range of musical traditions in the country. The organization also documents the finest living Bhutanese master musicians in performance. The Bhutan Foundation is supporting the MBRC in a three-year project to document, preserve, and promote age-old songs and endangered musical traditions and practices across Bhutan. With our support, MBRC will travel to 14 dzongkhags (districts), reaching out to several villages to document many traditional songs and dances.
RENEW is a Bhutan non-governmental organization dedicated to the relief and empowerment of disadvantaged women and adolescent girls. RENEW stands for Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women. The organization was established in 2004 by Her Majesty Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). RENEW envisages being the leading institution in the nation for shaping the role of women in Bhutanese society and has as its mission “To empower disadvantaged girls and women in Bhutan and integrate them back into their own communities as independent, socially and economically productive members of the society.” The main beneficiaries of RENEW are out-of-school adolescent girls, disadvantaged women and those women who are victims of domestic violence, women and adolescent girls who are victims of rape or sexual abuse, commercial sex workers, and women and adolescent girls who are HIV-positive or victims of drug abuse.
Rotary Club of Thimphu
The Rotary Club of Thimphu (RCT) was established in April 2012 to expand Bhutan’s foreign relations through the Rotary Club’s expansive network of 1.3 million members across the world. The Rotary Club operates in more than 220 countries and geographical areas and focuses on supporting projects in education and life skills, health and well-being, and farming and food security. A fairly young club with 28 Bhutanese members, RCT believes in the alleviation of poverty by empowering the people of Bhutan and improving services in their focus areas.
RCT has completed over sixty projects in Bhutan since its establishment, from supplying water filtration systems to supporting schools all over Bhutan to providing eyeglasses to those with visual impairment. The Rotary Club of Thimphu partners with various clubs all over the world and is a partner of the Bhutan Foundation.
Royal Society for the Protection of Nature
In 1987, the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) was established as a citizen-based NGO devoted to the conservation of Bhutan’s unique environment under the royal command of His Majesty the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The vision of the RSPN encompasses a mission to inspire personal responsibility and works to involve local communities, institutions, and student groups in its initiatives throughout Bhutan. The Queen of Bhutan, Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck is the Royal Patron of the organization. RSPN’s work revolves around conservation of endangered species like White-bellied Herons, Black-necked Cranes, and other flagship species, community-based sustainable livelihood, waste management, emerging issues related to the river, water, and climate change. They also include broader projects to enhance the capacity and scalability of environmental education and advocacy, ecological research, and natural resource management. The Bhutan Foundation supports RSPN in its mission to conserve Bhutan’s rich biodiversity by supporting some of its priority projects.
Royal Thimphu College
With a vision of Inspiring Education in Bhutan, Royal Thimphu College hopes not only to provide an education that will inspire our students to achieve their full potential but also to positively affect changes in the landscape of tertiary education in the Kingdom. To enable enrollment of more highly qualified but needy students, the College has set up the RTC Scholarship Fund. This fund finances student from under-privileged and under-represented backgrounds. All proceeds go to worthy students, without any administrative overhead for the college. Please visit their website to learn more about the program. The College has been accredited A+ (Excellent) by the Bhutan Accreditation Council, becoming the highest-rated college in Bhutan.
The Tarayana Foundation works to uplift and enhance the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged persons living in communities in rural Bhutan. His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, crown prince at the time, along with Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, founded Tarayana in 2003 as an NGO. Tarayana seeks to reduce poverty by adopting the national goal of “taking special measures in support of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, as well as efforts to ensure that those who have been largely bypassed by the benefits of development are drawn more fully into the mainstream of the development process.” Despite the extensive pro-poor development strategies that the government is employing toward the small communities in rural areas, there remains a gap in its efforts. It is this gap that Tarayana attempts to bridge through its work directed at sustainable self-sufficiency and other targeted, small-scale, and individualized interventions in these communities. The Bhutan Foundation supports the Tarayana Foundation in promoting equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, particularly in the areas of education and poverty alleviation. The Bhutan Foundation supports Tarayana’s Scholarship Program to provide basic education for children from economically disadvantaged families. In addition, the children were also supported through the purchase of school uniforms, shoes, books, and supplementary meal costs. The Bhutan Foundation has also supported the Tarayana Foundation in promoting skills development projects in rural communities throughout Bhutan.