Amidst the COVID 19 Pandemic, Bhutan was forced to lock down all its border with India and imports of all essential commodities were halted.
Despite many challenges these communities are facing, their resilience, adaptiveness and the drive to pursue self-sufficiency has against many expectations ensured that the project could be carried out and adapted to their involving needs.
The closing of boarders internationally, with the resulting reduced access to commodities and increased food prices has further emphasized the need for locally produced goods.
Despite earlier barriers in getting supplies of metal frames, the communities have quickly switched to building the structure with local timber, resulting in minimal delays and cost savings. In November this year, the communities have benefitted from two harvests of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, carrots and cauliflowers, produce that were unavailable or imported at a hefty premium.
Once the travel restrictions were lifted, the communities have also started their trainings, including dyeing, sawing and financial literacy. The embroidery training has been changed to re-usable mask making. Surgical masks are not easily available in the region and although the pandemic has so far spared the remote communities, some of the groups still travel seasonally to the Indian border and it will become essential to help them maintain the highest standard of hygiene and social distancing. We are also working with the foundation to explore opportunities for community members to sell some of their hand made face masks.
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There are major delays in the land approval for the building of the community center. The bureaucratic red tape has been a frequent barrier in the region in the past few months and Tarayana foundation is putting every effort in helping move the discussions forward with the authorities. At the same time, amidst decreased flow of visitors, the Foundation is working with the communities to find new ways of utilizing the community centers in a productive and impactful way once it is completed.
As the world continues to grapple with the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, many underserved communities have been disproportionately impacted due to factors such as inadequate access to sanitation, lack of social safety net and broken supply chains leading to higher prices of food. Sunline Foundation has thus chosen to temporarily shift its focus to supporting covid-19 related initiatives with a handful of trusted partners. While having their core activities aligned with the Foundation's mission, the selected NGOs have a deep understanding of the needs on the ground and are providing critical emergency relief as well as post-COVID adaptation capabilities to their beneficiaries. Thanks to your generous contributions and support, we have helped over 2000 individuals in Bhutan, Cambodia and Thailand.
By investing in the New Horizons, you are not compromising financial returns for the benefit of good social deeds. Instead, you invest in the key players of today and the leaders of tomorrow whose success is intrinsically linked to and derived from their alignment with sustainable development goals.
As government actions lose momentum, it is more important than ever for philanthropists to step in and provide essential humanitarian support