Dechen Dolkar

His Majesty The King conferred the National Order of Merit, Gold, to the Bhutan Red Cross Society (BRCS) during the 114th National Day at Tashichhodzong yesterday in recognition of its exemplary service to the Nation by building a community of volunteers throughout the country.

Their services have complemented the efforts of the State particularly during the pandemic.

BRCS was launched in 2017 under the leadership of its President, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, and was admitted to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 2019.

Since its inception, the BRCS has built a diverse community of volunteers totaling 4,643 today. Its membership across twenty-one branches comprise of volunteers from diverse backgrounds ranging from farmers, local leaders and civil servants as well as a group of taxi drivers.

During the pandemic, the BRCS has provided support wherever needed using its wide network of trained volunteers for delivering essential items and medical supplies as well as providing transport services to patients especially during the lockdowns.

The volunteers have played an invaluable role by helping to organize and manage the funeral rites of the deceased during the pandemic.

Their prompt and caring services have enabled bereaved families to conduct proper funerary rites in accordance with health protocols and also grieve in dignity.

The BRCS has helped to manage such rites for 287 deceased people from across the country.

Today the BRCS focuses on emergency responses through the community response network of its volunteers. BRCS works closely with De-suung and other government agencies such as the Ministry of Health, Department of Disaster Management and also the district administrations.

The secretary general of BRCS, Dragyel Tenzin Dorjee, said that he is deeply honoured on behalf of the volunteers in 21 branch offices and on behalf of the volunteers across the country.

He said the members are grateful to His Majesty for such a great honour and recognition. “The medal to Bhutan Red Cross is a great encouragement nationally, which will further motivate the volunteers to serve with dedication. Internationally it acknowledges great visibility of the humanitarian services this young national society could achieve in this short period after being internationally recognised.”

He said that Bhutan Red Cross has received the opportunity to further strengthen the community resilience preparing for emergencies. “We were fortunate to serve in the niche gaps where possible. Our volunteer services are in the specialized volunteer.”

The secretary general said that His Majesty The King has always reminded them that any real and lasting solution to global issues can only come through a universal wave of human empathy, desire and passion for the common good.

He also said that as mentioned by Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, who is the president of BRCS during the launch of the BRCS on May 8, 2017, these blessings ensure the duty of the national society for a larger humanitarian cause. “BRCS continues to play a vital role in ensuring its auxiliary role to the state focusing on community responses.”

Dragyel Tenzin Dorjee also said that as part of the BRCS Strategy 2030 one of the areas of core focus is emergency responses. “Ever since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the nation, BRCS played a very important role during the first and the second lockdown and the respective district lockdowns.”

He also said that BRCS also provided other services like transporting the patients discharged from hospital to their respective homes across the country and delivering meals for their journey from the Red Cross self-containment centers as per the royal command of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen to ensure the wellbeing of the patient.