Friday, August 16, 2019

The Rotary Club of Thimphu Rebuilding Lives

Long after the memories of their time at Dawakha have faded, and normalcy has returned into their once tumultuous lives, 15th of August 2019 will forever remain etched in the checkered memories of the 26 female inmates who are currently lodged at the Dawakha Open Air Prison of the Royal Bhutan Police. For, on this day, these 26 inmates have received their Certificate of Competence - to practice a vocation that the Rotary Club of Thimphu helped them acquire. The life skill that these ladies have acquired will stand them in good stead - when they complete their term and reintegrate into society. It is our Club’s effort at rebuilding lives that have been thrown into disarray, for reasons beyond their control.

During a simple prayer ceremony presided over by a Truelku and the Superintendent of RBP Sonam Wangchuk, these ladies have been issued their certificate of proficiency in sewing.

Superintendent of Police Mr. Sonam Wangchuk and trainer Ms. Pem Pem Gyaltshen hold up the Certificate of Proficiency awarded to 26 inmates who underwent one month's training program in sewing.

For the past one month these ladies have been taught sewing on 10 brand new sewing machines donated by the Rotary Club of Thimphu. Zamin Friends Forever - a homegrown entrepreneurial trailblazer who is the one and only manufacturer of reusable cotton sanitary napkins in the country, fielded the training instructor, Ms. Pem Pem Gyaltshen.

Under an MoU that is due to be signed independent of our Club, between the RBP, Zamin Friends Forever and the women inmates, this project will see generation of income for the ladies while they are still at the Dawakha facility. Zamin Friends Forever is committed to purchase all of the pads that inmates produce at Dawakha. They will continue to make a living from sewing cotton sanitary pads, should they wish, even after they leave the facility. For those who are unable to afford to buy sewing machines, the Rotary Club of Thimphu is committed to help them finance the purchase of sewing machines.

The Rotary Club of Thimphu is proud to be able to engage in this meaningful project - the capacity building initiative towards manufacturing and use of affordable and environmentally friendly reusable cotton sanitary napkins. We believe that each of us must do our share to protect and safeguard our environment. Disposable plastic sanitary napkins MUST GO! It is bad for the environment. And it is bad for the pocket.

The Dawakha project is the epochal first step - The Rotary Club of Thimphu will initiate much bigger programs in the coming months and years. Over time, we hope to be able to cover whole of the country, in the production and use of environmentally friendly reusable sanitary napkins. Currently operational modalities are being worked out with the RENEW whose nation wide reach and coverage will help us reach most parts of the country.

This project is a small contribution from the Rotary Club of Thimphu, towards safeguarding the nation’s environment. In the same vein, we are currently in the process of implementing a 100% organic agriculture project valued at US$51,000.00, in Chhukha Dzongkhag.

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