Through the recent carnival in Phuentsholing, the Royal Society for Senior Citizens (RSSC) has received Nu 300,000 which will be used for the welfare of the members. The organizer handed over the amount to RSSC’s President Lyonpo Dago Tshering.
For bettering the lives of senior citizens, RSSC aspires to explore relevant ways through various funding sources. RSSC, formed in 2011 for the welfare of senior citizens have then worked for bettering the lives of elderly people.
Statistics from National Statistical Bureau in 2017 said that around 18% of elderly citizens face financial crisis, 30% suffer from poor shelter, 26% suffer from lack of food self-sufficiency. 15% of elderly citizens in the country are landless and another 15%, debt ridden. 18% fear hunger and 71% of elderly citizens fear sickness and death in the country. RSSC feels the situation and living standard of them is a growing concern.
With the increasing number of retiring civil servants including armed forces and corporate employees annually, it is felt necessary for them to provide better services in need. There are more than 4,000 pensioners across the country today. RSSC through its membership provides required services to its members. There are around 300 members registered with the organization currently.
RSSC has already started issuing cards for senior citizens where they can get special treatment at service centers like banks, hospitals and transportation services for the citizens above 60 years old. Also, there is an old-age home in Thimphu where the elderly citizens can stay and engage in meaningful activities. “The very idea of RSSC is to help the helpless and homeless elderly citizens, as they are sometimes neglected and abandoned,” KarmaTenzin (Yongba), Coordinator from Phuentsholing Chapter said.
RSSC has started its registering membership with Nu 1,800 as annual membership fee. RSSC has proposed Nu 20mn as seed money to run the organization. The organization has so far collected money through donations from financial institutes, individuals and events like carnivals. Still, they are far from reaching the target. The amount received from the carnival is also used as the seed for the organization’s sustenance. “Once the trust fund is ready, the organization will decide the course of further actions for senior citizens,” Phenday Zangmo, Program Officer said.
The fund will also be used to draft Senior Citizen’s Bill which will be presented in the upcoming session of Parliament for endorsement. RSSC has succeeded in organizing carnival in Phuentsholing for the first time ever. Similar events will be organized in other regions for fund raising seed money, according to Karma Tenzin.
RSSC’s carnival has also helped recovering drug addicts and homeless people of Happiness Center. RSSC has provided free stall to Happiness Center Recovery Volunteer Group (HCRVG), a voluntary counseling centre in Phuentsholing. Around 10 members of the HCRVG were engaged in running the stall in the event. The organizer has also contributed five bags of 25 kilogram rice each, two bottles of coffee and 10 liters oil for the center.
Ugyen Dorji, a volunteer for the old and homeless said that the event will help his center to help the needy, homeless and old people. “We are facing shortage of funds but such events will help us to help these people. We are very grateful for their contribution to the center,” he said.
The event has also attracted INR inflow as most of the visitors were from India coming as tourists. “Till now, most of us spent hundreds in carnivals outside the country. But organizing within the country not only attracts foreign currency inflow, but also gives employment income generating opportunities for Bhutanese,” said Nidup, event’s site In-charge.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing