De-suung marked its 12th Raising Day on 14 February, with around 8,000 De-suups from across the country joining the celebrations at the Changlimithang Stadium.
De-suung was established by Royal Charter in 2011 as a platform for trained volunteers to offer their services to the nation. Since then, 34,939 volunteers have been trained as De-suups in 54 successive training programmes. The ongoing 55th training programme raises the total number of De-suups trained to 36,134.
The 12th De-suung Raising Day celebrations held at Changlimithang included Drill, entertainment, and an exhibition of the many projects initiated by De-suung. The Chief Guest, Lyonchen Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering, outlined the most significant De-suung and De-suup services to the nation. Thanking De-suups on behalf of the people of Bhutan, the Prime Minister said that De-suung is a splendid demonstration of the profound spirit of commitment and loyalty of the Bhutanese people for the nation, and expressed confidence that with His Majesty’s guidance and leadership and the dedication of the people of Bhutan, we can look forward to the future with optimism.
Lyonchen Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering is an honorary De-suup, and has worked alongside De-suups on several occasions, including during Bhutan’s special medical deployment to Nepal following the devastating earthquakes in 2015.
De-suups have volunteered during all national disasters and large national events since its inception, lending a helping hand whenever needed. Since 2020, De-suung began the Accelerated Training Program to allow for greater numbers of volunteers to become De-suups during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Tens of thousands of De-suups volunteering across the country and along the entirety of our borders were critical to Bhutan’s successful response to the pandemic. In the same year, DeSuung National Service was established in accordance with His Majesty’s Command that opportunities be created during this period for Bhutanese youth to be part of projects of national importance and generational impact.
Starting with the Water Project, De-suups were engaged to carry out several National Service Projects. De-suups, in partnership with related RGOB agencies, have completed 34 Water Projects to build secure water supply infrastructure across Bhutan, while 6 projects are ongoing. This has benefited thousands of households, schools, health centers, and other public institutions across Bhutan.
A special cadre of De-suups, the Alpha team, was engaged to help build accommodation and spaces for work and training for the projects and has completed close to 120 construction projects since 2020.
A yearlong pilot project for Road Construction at Kurizam, Gyalpozhing heralds a new avenue for De-suups to support the construction of high-quality critical infrastructure in Bhutan. The De-suung for Gyalsung project is similarly engaged in building infrastructure at the 5 Gyalsung Academy sites. The experience and learning from these projects are invaluable and will serve to raise the standards for construction in Bhutan while being a repository for skilled personnel.
The million fruit tree plantation was initiated in early 2022 to plant high-value fruit trees across Bhutan. The second phase of this project began on February 5th.
The National Accelerated Dog Population Management Programme initiated in March 2022 has carried out mass sterilization of stray dogs, microchipping and registration of strays and pets and is an ongoing project.
De-suung has also partnered with various government agencies to: carry out greening and beautification of towns and cities, which has included the development of green urban spaces, the construction and management of Ka-Ja Throm farmer’s markets, building tanks and water supply systems for the breeding of Sturgeon and Crawfish by the Ministry of Agriculture; developing and maintaining the Trans-Bhutan trail and other important trails and historic sites, and partnering with DGPC on a project to construct a Hydropower plant.
De-suups have also participated in special refresher and specialized courses in Search and Rescue, medical response, and firefighting, bolstering national response during emergencies with skilled volunteer support. They have complemented national efforts during mass COVID-19 vaccinations, and collecting biometrics to support the National Digital ID project.
Alongside the National Service Projects, De-suung initiated the De-suung Skilling Programme, which has carried out over 300 programmes to train De-suups in a variety of wide ranging skills. The De-suung Skilling Programme was initiated as a gesture of appreciation from the State to the youth of Bhutan, for their exceptional services to the Nation during the pandemic. More than 7,500 De-suups have gone through one or more of the training programmes, with ongoing support to enhance their skills and help translate these skills into livelihoods.
De-suung has grown from a volunteer corps trained to help during disasters to becoming an invaluable resource for nation-building. The 12th Raising Day was an apt celebration of all that De-suung has achieved.
The celebrations were made all the more special when Their Majesties The King and Gyaltsuen graced the event, and met with the De-suups gathered from across the country.