The two volunteers who have been walking from one dzongkhag to another to raise funds for the Bhutan Kidney Foundation (BKF) have a message for donors; donation is voluntary.

BKF received several criticisms for organising such walks that have compelled some section of civil servants to contribute towards it.

The volunteers said that such thought from the people was unexpected and clarified that donation was never made mandatory. “It was not the BKF that initiated the walk. We did it voluntarily for the benefit of over 100 kidney patients in the country.”

One of the volunteers, Chimi, said that the posts on social media affected their journey. “Two of us are doing this for the patients. We’re trying our best to save someone’s life,” he said. “It is disheartening to learn how people think about our initiative.”

Chimi and his companion, Tsheten Dorji, arrived at Tsirang on September 27.

“We’re having the much needed rest today after walking continually for about 25 days,” Chimi said.

The journey, they said, was tiring with difficult road conditions at several locations. “Problems besides, we have been able to continue our journey with the pleasure,” he added.

In the last 25 days, the duo changed at least three pairs of shoes.

Tsheten Dorji said that they have been showing a documentary about patients who live with failed kidney and survive on dialysis. People are being told about symptoms of kidney disease and the importance to get their organs checked at the nearest health centre. People are also told about the importance of drinking at least three liters of water a day.

The walk will end on October 24 in Laya, Gasa.  By the end of the journey, the two expect to generate at least Nu 50 million.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang