Choki Wangmo 

Ten years ago, Namgang developed a disability in his lower body and couldn’t walk. He lost his wife a year ago.

Without any source of income and support, his condition could have worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic, if not for The King’s ration support kidu.

Namgang, 80, lives alone in Junmi Pam in Jomotshangkha, Samdrupjongkhar. His foster son lives nearby but he has his problems to solve. During the two nationwide lockdowns, he received ration support kidu two times, which included rice, oil, sugar, tea leaves, and cheese. It was delivered by the gewog administration.

When he was able, he worked on the farms but it became increasingly difficult after he couldn’t walk. “I did not have to toil under hard circumstances after I received soelra from His Majesty. Despite being exempted from taxes, The King’s benevolence and utmost care to each individual have saved me from hunger.”

“I don’t know much prayers but every day I dedicate merits from my chants to His Majesty’s long life and happiness,” he said.

Villagers helped build a small home for Namgang a few years ago.

Dorji Thinley, 80, from Masangdaza-Tsenzabi Chiwog in Mongar lives with his elderly wife and 40-year-old special daughter. Before lockdown, he performed astrological readings and local healing in return for food and vegetables.

During lockdowns, the family was identified by the gewog as “vulnerable”, that required support to sustain. They received rations through the kidu.

As the effects of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns shut down the economy, vulnerable people—low-income group, the elderly population, and special people— were gravely affected. However, with the introduction of Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu in April last year, many found refuge.

Sangaymo’s two daughters passed away and she has no one to depend on at 85. Her husband, at 83 couldn’t work on the farms. During the lockdown, their sole sustenance was from the kidu ration.  She said that the rations delivered during the second lockdown would last her another two weeks.

“My King should have a long and prosperous life,” she said.

From December 20 to January 14, The Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu received 13,409 applications, out of which over 1,000 households were provided ration kidu, with the majority of the beneficiaries in Thimphu.

According to the kidu office, there was a surge in the number of applicants after the continuation of the kidu was announced on December 24 last year.

There were media reports where parents did not even have the rice to feed their children if not for the ration kidu.

More than 60 disadvantaged households in one of the gewogs in Trongsa received the ration kidu, mostly consisting of the elderly people.