Coinciding with the 15th foundation day, Tarayana Foundation opened its annual fair yesterday in Thimphu. It was themed ‘Tarayana since 2003: fifteen years of service from the heart.’ 

The three-day fair has over 80 stalls opened at Chubachu. The fair exhibits products such as textiles, wooden, and dairy products from over 13 dzongkhags in the country. The fair also has about 25 stalls with entertainment programmes.

Sangay Wangmo, 34, a divorced mother of two from Tsirang is selling organic pickle at the fair. “Tarayana has many activities in my village like house construction and preservation of water source. I believe that this kind of space is really important and beneficial.”

While Tarayana Foundation was formally launched on May 4, 2003, the idea of the foundation goes back 20 years ago when Her Majesty the Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck visited rural communities in the country. 

“We saw and felt the real need for us to holistically serve these communities we left behind, in an organised and sustainable manner,” Her Majesty the Gyalyum said in her address. “While returning from one of those tours, on our drive towards Pelela, the idea of Tarayana was born.”

Today the foundation has reached communities across the country and is focused on socio-economic development. It organises housing improvement trainings, surgical camps, annual pilgrimage, and scholarships among others. 

At the event, Her Majesty the Gyalyum awarded the foundation’s Secretary General Chime P Wangdi with the President’s Medal for her dedication and selfless service to the vulnerable and poor. The Secretary General has been part of the foundation’s journey. Prior to joining Tarayana Foundation, she was the head of Policy and Planning Division at the agriculture ministry.

Chime P Wangdi said that as one of the female officers in the ministry, she accompanied Her Majesty on all trips around rural Bhutan. “The activities started from 1998 onwards in small measures and it was growing. Even before the formal launch, we were doing a lot of activities on the ground.”

The fair has volunteers from Royal Institute of Management, Bhutan Olympic Committee, Bhutan National Legal Institute and from Jigme Singye Wangchuck Law School. The fair, which ends tomorrow, was supported by Taj Tashi, Zimdra and other individuals. 

Phurpa Lhamo