Chhimi Dema 

Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu helped many people, who lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic, survive.

Yeshey Tshering Sherpa from Tsirang, who worked as a driver in a hotel, said he pays his house rent and buys essentials through the kidu support.

The 49-year-old is a single parent with two children.

“Without the Relief Kidu, I wouldn’t be able to feed my family,” he said. “My children and I survive because of the relief fund. I’d like to thank His Majesty The King.”

Chimi Dema, a 38-year-old, said the relief kidu helped her to meet expenses at home for her son and sister.  She worked as a freelance guide.

She said that, without much saving, the only hope was the relief kidu.

“I don’t know how to express my gratitude to His Majesty The King. He is my saviour,” she said. “There are times when I feel bad for receiving the relief kidu, but without it, it’ll be difficult to survive.”

Another freelance guide, Dorji Drakpa, said it was a challenge to meet daily expenses with his little saving. “I’m lucky to be born as a Bhutanese. The relief fund was the greatest support during the most difficult time.”

A kidu recipient, Dorji Dem, 24, said she received kidu since March. “Both my parents are unemployed. The relief fund is my only source for survival.”

With the hotel industry closed, she said that she had been unemployed for almost a year now. “But my parents never went to bed hungry.”

Most of the beneficiaries say their only hope for the uncertain future is His Majesty.

A returnee from the Middle East, Kinley, 24, said she received kidu for more than eight months. “His Majesty The King’s blessings save us.”

Phuentsho Wangmo, 36, from Samdrupjongkhar, said that the kidu benefited her.

She ran a karaoke and snooker business and was out of business since March last year. “I’m grateful to be one of the kidu recipients. Long live His Majesty The King,” she said.

After its launch on April 14 last year, 52,209 individuals applied for the relief kidu, out of which 45,687 individuals received kidu, according to the relief kidu office.

More than 7,000 people received the relief kidu every month since April 2020 and others received it twice.

The relief kidu was also provided during the nationwide lockdown to applicants from all sectors, increasing the percentage of applicants becoming eligible for the kidu to 96 percent in August 2020 and January 2021.

As of January 31, 2021, the relief kidu granted Nu 2 billion to 45,687 individuals and their children (child support kidu of Nu 60 million).  

Additional reporting by Kelzang Wangchuk