With 215 registered members and more than 500 volunteers, the One Ngultrum Initiative has collected more than 125,000 one ngultrum notes to be donated to the Bhutan Kidney Foundation (BKF).
“It is quite an impressive amount,” said the initiative’s founder, 23-year-old Jigme Namgay, who began the movement to create awareness on the importance of the one Ngultrum since most Bhutanese consider it of no value.
While many people are registering as member, volunteers and anonymous contributors, Jigme said many are still not aware of the project and the value of lower denomination.
“If we recharge Nu 99 data package in a shop, we don’t ask for one ngultrum after paying Nu 100, and even we keep one ngultrum in our pocket we don’t consider it of much value but bringing it together can make a huge difference,” he said.
“We are getting so many messages on our Facebook page from people who want to be part of this initiative and I think together we can bring changes to the society.”
Through the initiative Jigme believes people can also learn about and help kidney patients in some ways. Each year, the number of people affected by chronic kidney disease is rising with an average of 12 cases a month according to BKF.
The fund will support patient welfare by providing a small seed fund to the patient and their families. “It is focused on school going children of kidney patients to provide basic necessities for school,” said Jigme.
So far the collections has been used to fund grocery and goods at the patient guest houses in Thimphu and Mongar, academic expenses like paying fees and buying stationery for patients’ school going children and travel expenses for treatment within the country.
With further collection the initiative also aims to provide financial support for review and treatment in India, provide seed money for home based business and for the expenses in other areas such as semso during death, repair and maintenance of public property installed at the patient guest houses and renovation of patient guest houses.