KP Sharma 

Wangchuk, a 65-year-old farmer of Trong in Zhemgang had never thought that time would come when his life would change significantly. The change began when his sons went to Australia.

The money that his sons send home from Australia has changed the way the family lives.

Wangchuk now has a bungalow where he sits on the couch for the better part of the day watching the news and other programmes on TV.

The installation of an electric stove has reduced the burden of collecting firewood. Wangchuk also has a grass-cutting machine which eases the work.

Sudden growth of the family like Wangchuk has encouraged other villagers to explore opportunities to send their children abroad.

Jangchub Zam, a woman in Bongo, Chukha has son and daughter-in-law in Australia. With their help, she could construct a well-furnished house for the family. “They asked me to immediately dismantle our small traditional house and construct a modern house.”

Her son recently sent her Nu 25,000 which she used to pay the wages of the people whom she had hired to help her with the farm works.

A resident in Samtse, Ganga Ram, said that his relatives in the US and Australia help him whenever he is in need of money. “They had created a group on the messenger and kept me updated with all the developments happening abroad for my daughter’s marriage.”

The amount was more than Nu 300,000 which he said was enough to make all the necessary arrangements in his village.

Santa Man Rai, whose son is currently abroad, said that his son helped him purchase raw materials for his new house and supports the family and relatives clear off their debt.

The retired civil servant said that because of his son’s support, he could go on a pilgrimage in Nepal, Tibet, and India.

As of January 2023, more than 30,000 Bhutanese are living abroad in 113 countries, mostly in Australia, as per the record of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

There are 10, 911 Bhutanese in Australia, 9,519 in India, 3,184 in Kuwait, 1,356 in Thailand and 1,327 in the USA, among others.