One evening in June, Kinley Dhuendup Namgyel, a third-year law student at Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s (JSW) school of law, received a message from his friends on Facebook about an Australia visa. Another text followed with an explanation of better lives and opportunities abroad.
Every time when he engrosses on the phone, he said, he could see multiple numbers of visa grants from different oversea agents in the country, “It’s very encouraging but sad to see Bhutanese leaving our beautiful nation.”
When he asked his friends, why are you going abroad for a job when there are so many works in the country? They laughed at me – saying to google it.
With this, he said, he founded a social group called “Semthuen Zhidhey Zhabtok” on February 5 – with the goal of spreading the message, “To help each other and provide better opportunities and a better platform to achieve a happier nation.”
Today, he is a team leader of 150 youths to help society. “Team was not just a youth group; it is a social movement and is created in order to spread the idea that all must start to stand up for the country.”
He added his youth team believes that they all must not simply wait for leaders to start or finish the job. “We believe in the idea that every Bhutanese citizen can play a crucial role in changing our country, and we must do so.”
As of now, the majority of members are youth, with the greatest number of high school students, college students, and recent graduates showing a strong interest in the cause’s solidarity, and there are other group members who live outside the country in places such as Australia, Qatar, Germany, and others.
As a newly formed group, the team has received no funding so far; instead, Kinley said, “we function under the goal.” In terms of funding, the group agreed to contribute Nu 50 – Nu100.
In addition, most of the members joined through social media platforms and a majority of them are students.
He said that at the beginning, it was challenging, but with the motivation of his friends and now with the support of team members they are now hoping for a successful journey.
Recently, they completed their first project – helping to clean the house of an old grandmother in Lumitsawa, Punakha. “In just half a month, from over a hundred members, the group was able to collect enough monetary funds to help insulate and thoroughly,” he said.
He added that the team also provides Grandma with clean and safe cooking utensils and replaces her loosely and dangerously installed wires, bulbs, and sockets.
However, the member of the team had adopted the grandma, and in order to ensure that the grandma is now taken care of by the group till her death, “We have three members volunteer to adopt her as their grandmother.”
Regarding the youth showing interest in working on his team, Kinley said that Bhutanese people are not lacking in talents, especially the youths but lack opportunities in the country.
However, he said that it is very important to ensure that these talented young people are not exploited, which makes them lose interest in kindness and society.
“Our biggest goal is to end poverty here in Bhutan and to provide a platform of equal opportunities,” he said, adding that by helping each other.
“Currently our plans are small,” Kinley said, adding that in the future we intend to increase our membership and our monthly donation. s
“We also wish to keep our projects long-term and sustainable and to come up as a reliable group for people in need of help,” he said.
Additionally, he said that Semthuen Zhidhey Zhabtok is a social movement aimed at improving each other’s lives. “Alone, we can do so little, but if we all come together, even the smallest of our contributions could result in the biggest of the changes in our society, and this is what we strive for.”
Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu