Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuk inaugurated the Ability Bhutan Society (ABS) by unveiling the office plaque yesterday at the Lingkana palace.
The Gyaltsuen granted an audience to six underprivileged children accompanied by their parents and the chairman of the ABS, Chief Election Commissioner, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi and its board members.
The society was formed in November, 2011 by a group of dedicated parents for underpriveleged children to provide them a platform to learn or work in an integrated manner thereby enabling them to be productive members of the community.
ABS is a public-benefit organisation which received legal aid, advice and technical assistance from the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon upon the royal command of His Majesty the King
The society also had a small function at its office in Changzamtog which was attended by around 50 more children along with their parents.
“ABS will dedicate in advocating the interest of all children, particularly those with moderate to severe disabilities,” said Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, “the Election Commission will be making every effort to facilitate as many persons with disabilities to participate in electoral democracy.”
His Majesty accepted to be the chief patron of the society and ordered the KIDU foundation based in the USA to adopt the society as one of its projects.
The foundation will award a grant as seed fund for the society.
The society will establish an ability centre while training its staff and will be extending its services across the twenty dzongkhags. It will also conduct a training program for families and caregivers of the disabled children. Further, the ABS will bring counselors from abroad to initiate these trainings on charity.
One of the participants, Sonam Dargay , a six-year old boy who was abandoned by his parents when he was an infant, was adopted by Chuki who hoped that the society would help her son to grow up like any other normal child . Another parent added that they are hopeful that ABS will help finance medical expenses for their children.
Currently, in Bhutan there are 489 individuals with cerebral palsy, 163 with development delay, 53 with autism,198 suffering from learning disabilities ,49 with Down’s syndrome and 65 suffering from communication delay , making it 1,542 individuals with disabilities.