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We are progressing. We are prospering. We have seen rapid economic development over the years. Our society is no longer what it was just a few decades ago. We have made quite a stride for which we should rightfully be proud of.

But the narrative of our success and prosperity too has a side that does not lift our hearts. Not everyone gets equal share of prosperity. While some live in posh houses and drive expensive cars, others live is places that could barely pass as home. It is only natural that wealth and prosperity doesn’t get shared equally. It is impossible. But we can always strive to achieve some level of equality.

What is worrying is that while the rich get richer, the poor are left at the fringes of the society, forgotten, as if they do not exist. The yawning gap between the rich and the poor should not be let to grow. If we did, we are a failed nation. It would mean that we did not succeed in implementing our plans and policies that are aimed at maximising gross national happiness. We cannot leave certain sections of our people to fend for themselves while we yap and roll in the cradle of rising prosperity.

We have seen that with development we are increasingly losing our traditional values. We are becoming less caring and more heartless. We are becoming ever so divided and individualistic. These are not healthy signs of growth. We proudly call ourselves a welfare society with our hearts and souls intact still. However, the truth is that the very fabric of our society that kept us together is in danger of becoming threadbare.

But then, all’s not lost. We have hope still. Good things do happen. It is heartening to see our young people realise how quickly and often undesirably our society is changing. They know that as members of the society we could effect change the way we want it. And they have the courage and will to do so. This is a lesson for us elders. We should be ashamed to be just standing by.

A group young girls, some as young as 14, were seen helping poor families in Dechencholing, Thimphu last week. They collect donations from shops and individuals and buy groceries for the poor. They deliver them themselves, spreading the message of love, care and kindness. These are values our society, our communities, must foster.

These little girls are expanding their initiative to other towns. As they grow up, they might make this a national project, even. Next week they go to Paro. We hope that their little friends will join them. As elders, it is our duty to encourage and support them. That’s the least we can do. Let’s join the little ones.

Dear little darlings, you have our prayers and good wishes. May you be able to help as many poor as possible. May love and kindness you share with the less fortunate give you the strength to carry on.

Thank you for showing us the way.

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