The Bhutanese pilots of both airlines have pledged to donate at least Nu 1.2 million annually to NGO RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) for the next ten years.
The total donation in ten years comes to Nu 12 million. There are a total of 24 Bhutanese pilots, 16 with Drukair and the rest with Bhutan Airlines (Tashi Air).
The pilots handed over Nu 200,000 to RENEW in Thimphu, yesterday.
The commitment is being made as a part of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 60th birth anniversary celebrations and as a gesture of gratitude to the organization for its efforts in empowering disadvantaged women, girls, and children in the country.
RENEW Founder and President, Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, thanked the pilots for the support and pointed out that the support will benefit Bhutanese families and youth.
Her Majesty said that with an increasing number of programmes and services being provided, UN support is not enough anymore. Her Majesty is a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Her Majesty added that the UN system is also facing its own financial constraints.
As a result, Her Majesty said that it is important that local support is acquired to sustain RENEW’s programmes and services, which the people are now aware about and reach out to in times of family and personal strife.
“The support you’re giving to RENEW today, will go a long in making such a difference to helping us sustain our programmes and our services to the women, young girls, and families, in our country,” Her Majesty said.
Her Majesty also pointed out that it is hoped that other institutions and organizations, following the example of the pilots, may also consider supporting RENEW. Her Majesty said that even small contributions do make a difference. Her Majesty added that when an organization receives local support, it makes it much easier for international organizations to also provide support.
Drukair captain, Yab Dhondup Gyaltshen, said that the pilots had chosen to support RENEW in particular because the NGO helps women and children, and because it was in need of financial support. He added that the support is also being made to celebrate and honour His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
Yab Dhondup Gyaltshen said that if more Bhutanese pilots join either airline, it is hoped that the financial support can be increased. Besides the financial support, the pilots will also volunteer their services for the programmes and services provided by RENEW, he said.
It was pointed out by the RENEW executive director, Tandin Wangmo that RENEW will have dealt with more cases this year than previous ones. The NGO deal with 382 cases last year. She said the number of people that approach RENEW for help has been increasing yearly. She added that while wilful negligence was the most reported type of abuse so far, physical assaults may top the list this year.
Tandin Wangmo also said that RENEW was also receiving an increasing number of men victims.
It was pointed out that the majority of cases were settled and that it is a myth that families are broken up after RENEW is involved.
Besides counselling services, the NGO also runs a shelter for women and children, helps to acquire scholarships for disadvantaged children, and provides micro-loans.
The NGO primarily caters to victims of domestic violence, women and adolescent girls who are victims of rape or sexual abuse, commercial sex workers, women and adolescent girls who are HIV-positive or victims of drug abuse, children, and men, among others.
— Gyalsten K Dorji