DeSuups volunteer and help in many fields

DeSuung (Guardian of Peace) Training Programme, started by a command from His Majesty the King, is a value-based personal development course which encourages active citizenry in the wider role of nation building. The candidates that complete the training are known as DeSuups, and they are actively engaged in various volunteer initiatives, especially during and post disaster relief operations.
There are 2015 DeSuups, 1427 males and 588 females, trained since the start of the program in 2011. The DeSuups come from a wide range of background, like high profile candidates such as MPs and civil servants to corporate sector workers, private sector workers, unemployed graduates and fresh graduates.
The underlying premise of the training is built upon the spirit of volunteerism for the benefit of the people and nation, and the need to reinforce ethical standards and to cultivate values of community service, integrity and civic responsibility.
According to the Director of the Department of Census, Home Ministry, Tashi Tobgay, candidates that join the DeSuung training do so due to their volunteerism spirit and to dedicate their service to the Tsa-Wa-Sum. “They reach whenever and wherever they are called. They give their full dedication and hard work for the people and nation,” he said.
As for volunteering to assist RBP, Tashi Tobgay said there is no pre-planning as DeSuups are ready to assist as soon as they receive a call from the RBP. “They (RBP) will inform us saying we need this many DeSuups for this event and this is how we volunteer.”
There is also a system of alerting the DeSuups to lend any emergency help in disasters, like forest fires. The most effective way is using the social media, and through a phone network. DeSuups in the 20 dzongkhags are segregated and listed respectively, and a name list of DeSuups is given to Bhutan Telecom so the alerts can be placed more effectively and efficiently within a short period of time.
“If a disaster is happening in Thimphu, Bhutan Telecom will forward the alert message to DeSuups based in Thimphu rather than sending to all the DeSuups around the country and disturbing them,” Tashi Tobgay added. However, this mode of alert is used only in times of major disasters.
“Last year we used this method once when there was a GLOF threat, the lake-outburst in Punakha, whereby I have forwarded a message to Bhutan Telecom and arranged everything on time,” he said. Otherwise they pass on the alerts through calling each other on the phone network or through the social media.
DeSuups faced one of their biggest tasks in 2012 during Pel Dechog Dompai Khorlo Wangchen in Punakha. After which the DeSuups helped fight the fire in Wangdue Dzong. They are also engaged in fighting forest fires, flash floods, etc.
“Also this year during the major earthquake in Nepal, we have deployed 22 DeSuups, whereby we got quite a good feedback from the people and Government of Nepal,” Tashi Tobgay added.
DeSuups also engage in crowd control during big events. “The major challenges that we face is communication and the cooperation from the public. Sometime people are bit rowdy in crowds,” he said.
Meanwhile, RBP said the DeSuups render their service voluntarily and with full dedication, and are always helpful to them. “They have been helping us in crowd controlling and in many ways,” a police official said.
According to DeSuups, who are regularly involved in volunteering their service, they are happy to come forward to serving the Tsa-Wa-Sum. Without such initiatives, they said that they would not be any any help to the nation and people.
“It is an excellent opportunity for us to serve the nation, and we would like to continue to serve in the nation in the future as well,” they said.
A teacher of Tshimasham School, Tashi Dorji, said that he had always wished to join the armed forces, and being a DeSuup came closest to that dream. He said the objective behind the DeSuung program is also what motivated him to becoming a DeSuup. He said joining the DeSuung program has helped him to further serve the Tsa-Wa-Sum.
“As a teacher it is very difficult to adjust the time between teaching and volunteering but somehow I manage, in a way that when emergency occurs, I volunteer after school hours even at the cost of my own life,” he added.
He said sometimes it is difficult to receive timely information during emergencies, and therefore, he stays in constant touch with traffic police and the dzongkhag DeSuung coordinators.
A private employee, Tshering Wangmo, said that she makes time out of her office hours when it comes in serving the nation. She said, “It’s actually hard to adjust being in private company, but somehow, I manage to find the time to volunteer whenever needed.”
She said, “I am happy being a DeSuup and would love to serve with my full dedication. So far, I did not face any difficulty dealing with the people, instead they were cooperative.”

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