The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Roofing fund for 64 families

21 September, 2009 - Unable to provide the collateral for obtaining rural micro credit loans, or even qualifying for any government social services, 64 households in Bhutan’s poorest dzongkhag, Zhemgang, faced this year’s monsoon without adequate shelter.

In an effort to prevent this situation from recurring, HRH Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck, recently donated aNu 3m for households unable to obtain rural scheme loans. Village communities identified and selected 64 households that are in most need of the funds. HRH Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck also personally met with all 64 households during a recent tour of the dzongkhag.

As a result of the meetings, the funds will be used to replace the roofs of 64 houses in four gewogs in the upper Kheng region, with corrugated galvanised iron (CGI). The Nu 3m fund will cover procurement, transport, labour and construction phases of the initiative.

Member of parliament (MP) for Zhemgang, Tshering Dorji, said, adequate housing for many financially disadvantaged families is a severe curtailing factor. “Food and clothing are usually at a satisfactory level for families in the dzongkhag, but proper housing is not,” said the MP. Most houses in the dzongkhag use banana tree leaves, tarpaulin sheets, plastic or bamboo mats, for roofing their houses.

“By providing a proper roof over their heads, it’s also a move towards poverty alleviation,” said MP Tshering Dorji. “Men and women can go out to earn their living with the knowledge that their families, their children, will be safe and secure,” added the MP.

Installation of the CGI roofs is already underway and roofing of all 64 houses is expected to be completed within three months.

By Gyalsten K Dorji


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