It is with deep sorrow that we received the very sad information in the early morning of Thursday, June 27th, 2019, that my friend and longstanding Helvetas collaborator Namgyel Tshering – in Bhutan, well known under the name “Helvetas Namgyel” – passed away. Close friends and his family are relieved that Namgyel was released from his long uncertainties and suffering from cancer. While the long hospitalisation in a special clinic in Delhi, well cared for by his family, could not cure him, he could go home to live the last months in his new house amidst his family and parents. I met him last early May 2019. He was in a good spirit and clear in his mind that he has now started his last journey.
Born in Central Bhutan in 1956, he was 63 years. He was married to his wife Tshomo from Bumthang and father of two daughters and two sons. While he was an outstanding logistics officer, team-leader, office manager for HELVETAS and assistant of mine, he first of all was a wonderful husband and father who helped his four children throughout their education and training well beyond his own background. His support reached out to many more, and certainly to his old father and step-mother. When we established the Society Switzerland-Bhutan in 2000 and shortly thereafter the partner organisation Society Bhutan – Switzerland, he immediately became our strongest and most effective partner in strengthening the ties and implementing the joint projects in the field in remote Kheng. He built lasting cultural bridges in co-operation through his work. And this often as a pioneer when communication and infrastructure at large were very weak.
I lost one of my best friends whose guidance in many ways is unforgettable.
Resident Coordinator HELVETAS – SDC 1983-87
Founder President Society Switzerland – Bhutan.
“Helvetas Namgyel” is no more! Good bye and sincerest gratitudes!
There is no doubt that Namgyel Tshering was the most important as well as an experienced senior Bhutanese collaborator of HELVETAS Bhutan. When the then Swiss Coordinator Ernst Reinhardt opened the first HELVETAS Country office in 1983 in Thimphu, he engaged Namgyel Tshering as his Administrative, Logistic and Transport Officer. It was an excellent choice.
Namgyel fitted perfectly in his job profile: hardworking and determined to solve problems, gradually building excellent relations in the capital of Bhutan to Government Departments and the growing private sector. An excellent organizer and trouble shooter, he was of immense help to the many Swiss Helvetas collaborators, most of them in different disciplines or technical craftsmen. There was no problem that he was unable to solve. His strong, special and convincing character was highly appreciated and respected by the staff in the Coordination Office as well as by the working teams in the field projects. He was able to satisfy the sometimes difficult and demanding Swiss experts and peacefully clarify internal conflicts with local staff. He was also highly respected and admired as a guide and coach of important visitors from Switzerland or as an assistant of international experts in many development projects.
But not only in the framework of the Helvetas Bhutan program he played a very important role. He was the Secretary of the Bhutan Switzerland Society BSS, the partner organization of the SSB. In this capacity, he was especially fostering the school projects in rural areas and also produced – together with a film crew – an illustrative movie “People to People Partnership,” about these activities.
“Helvetas-Namgyel” has now gone to another world. He is no more among us. He lost his strong battle against a long and serious illness.
His many friends in Bhutan and Switzerland, who had the chance to work with him during many years in development cooperation, are shocked and mourning. We all lost a very good friend! He really was an outstanding human being and a great personality! He did a lot for the development of his beloved country Bhutan. We will always think of him! May his soul rest in peace!
E. Werner Külling
Former Secretary General of Helvetas Switzerland
Resident Coordinator of Helvetas Bhutan 2006 – 2008
Former Board member to the Society Switzerland Bhutan