The Rural Education Foundation (REF) is a public benefit organization which helps the less-privileged children avail the free education facilities provided by Government while it also provides basic necessities of life to brighten their every day.
The REF puts this aspect forward as their outstanding feature which also sets them apart.
For the REF’s initiatives the CSO Fund Facility granted Nu. 0.2 Million to establish the office and the Office of Gyalpoi Zimpon (OGZ), Helvetas and other individuals are also interested to support the organization.
The organization aims to and already has helped enhance the lives of such vulnerable youths, children and communities, especially in the eastern regions.
Karwang Yohxen founder of the organization started out with this mission in 2010 in Trashiyangtse.
Informally, he rendered support to 10 children and their parents from Tshaling Community Primary school who were struggling through their lives.
The REF again recognized 25 children, mostly girls from Pre-Primary till eighth standard. “It would be funded by United Nation’s under the Program of Social protection and provide them with service by this month,” said Karwang.
These groups of children are from the regions of Bumdeling, Tshaling, Melongkhar, Tokaphu and other remote regions.
The Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) is yet to release an order to fund such social protection programs organized by REF.
The support would be provided in the form of uniforms, stationeries, basic necessities and financial support.
“They were on the verge to discontinue their education as most of them were raised by single parents, belonging to large families with very less land holdings and trifling income,” he said.
The Foundation would look after six eastern dzongkhag initially even though they aspire to cover all dzongkhags.
The organization plans to set up an office in Trashigang by next year funded by UN to implement the programs of the REF.
Apart from supporting unprivileged children for education, the organization also aims to create awareness among children about health education, importance of education and literacy, ill-effects of alcohol and narcotics-related educational programs.
As an annual event, REF will organize Marijuana-uprooting campaigns in six dzongkhags, collaborated with Dzongkhag Administrations and Schools.
The Foundation also plans to recruit volunteer teachers from Ministry of Education and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to teach in rural schools as a part of rural education development initiative program and establish libraries for Community Primary School readers.
“REF would also render help to those incapable parents whose children are under REF custody,” said Karwang Yohxen. He said that they would be provided with all the basic amenities, agricultural facilities and other related services.
REF was established as a Public Benefit Organization under Civil Society Organizations Act of Bhutan 2007 on 8 April 2012.