In traditional Bhutan, every mother of a newborn used to be fed water to re-condition her body from the ravages of childbirth. Every newborn began life on this earth by being cleansed by water – a ritual known as Lhabtsang Thruesey.
But in modern Bhutan, our challenge is that our waters may no longer be safe for Lhabtsang Thruesey or to recondition a child-birth ravaged woman’s body. Our water bodies have been subjected to all sorts of defilement, caused by modernity and the environmental ruin it brings to our natural habitat. Our waters are no longer clean or safe for drinking. But clean and safe water is critical to healthy growth of children.
The Rotary Club of Thimphu understands the multiple benefits of providing safe drinking water to children – the direct benefit is that it helps improve school attendance – but the greater benefit that is not immediately visible is that healthy children contribute to reduction is health related costs to the nation. Bhutan provides free health care – thus if we are able to curb water related diseases among children, it will translate into huge savings for the government.
In the last few months we have been partnering with Disaster Aid Australia (DAA) in providing water filters to schools across the country. We have already installed 6 units of the innovative water filters manufactured in Australia called SkyHydrant filters. On 24th of this month we received additional 4 units of these filters for installation in the following schools.
These are Damphu community school, Kabesa community school, Phuntshopelri PS and BSSF sports ground in Lungtenzampa.
The Disaster Aid Australia has committed to raise funds to supply 120 of these filters over the next two years. Their aim is to reach water filters to every school in the Kingdom. It is an extremely challenging endeavor but as the CEO of Disaster Aid Australia says, it is important to start the journey.
The journey has certainly started in real earnest.
Opinion by Yeshey Dorji
The writer is a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Thimphu. His is also a Paul Harris Fellow. Currently he serves as the Club Secretary for RY 2017-2018. By Profession, Yeshey is a photographer.