The Voluntary Artists’ Studio Thimphu (VAST) held a fundraising for its fourth Rice Bank project in Thimphu last week.

The volunteers organised a number of activities, from selling secondhand books and food, among others.

The money will be used to help farmers in need to repay their rice debts.

In Lhuentse, a man raised money and other resources to provide free hot baths to devotees receiving Rinchoed Terdzo Wang Lung at Takila. Many of the devotees had not taken bath for several weeks and as a result faced health risks, as during the day they received teachings while the evenings were too windy and cold.

Similarly, we are seeing volunteers clean up public toilets and bringing them to an acceptable standard. We are also seeing volunteers clean up trash left behind following large events. There are students who go to the villages during their winter breaks to experience the rural life and help the elderly.

We regularly see the Desuups in their distinguishable orange uniforms fighting fires and controlling crowds, among others.

Some have also taken to saving animals from being slaughtered. Others are rescuing and even adopting abandoned dogs and cats. There are many other volunteer groups, too numerous to name, which is a development in the right direction.

A sense of voluntarism has always been present among the Bhutanese. It is already there and now it is becoming organised and more visible. We are heading the right path.

By volunteering to give back to the community, to the country, we strengthen our communities, our society. By doing so in groups, or as individuals, we reduce usage of resources that can be used for more important areas.

We can do more.

How many of us pick up trash we come along on the footpath, or rescue a mange infected dog on the road side?

By having organisations first, there is a sense of belonging, of knowing that there are others like yourself who believe in the same cause.

A strong sense of voluntarism only leads to a stronger and happier society. We must commend and encourage those who are leading the way.

And we must follow them.