Yam Kumar Poudel

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) awarded mini-grants of Nu 250,000 to two Japanese Alumni Association of Bhutan (JAAB) members on September 13.

Dawa Tshering and Tshering Dorji were selected from seven proponents of the business ideas grant this year.

Dawa Tshering, the founder of the Bhutan Stroke Foundation, has been helping stroke patients for two years.  He wants to establish a therapeutic centre specialising in care for stroke patients in Motithang, Thimphu.

Only a few people are aware of the kind of specialised care stroke patients require, according to Dawa Tshering. “The therapeutic centre will probably be one of, a few facilities catering to the needs of stroke patients.”

The second grant recipient, Tshering Dorji wants to develop a rice transplanting machine.

“I am hoping that the machine will reach the far-flung rural folks in Bhutan where farm mechanisation is favourable,” Tshering Dorji said.

Former participants of JICA training programs, scholars, and others who studied or trained in Japan established JAAB in 2000. JICA mini-grants award program is JAAB’s annual event that began last year.

JAAB General Secretary Pema Gyalpo said that through the mini-grants JAAB hopes to see the knowledge and skills gained during the course of the training or study in Japan translate into something tangible.

Only registered members are eligible for the grant.

Chief Representative of JICA Project in Bhutan, Tomoyuki Yamada said that the agency was happy to support innovative projects with potential of contributing to the country’s socio-economic development.

Some of annual JAAB programs and activities include a study visit to JICA Implemented project, a climate change and mitigation program, Project Grants, a Nutritious and food security program, Fire Safety and Awareness and Advocacy Program.