Tag Archives: Thimphu

Google and the car wash invade Shangri-La


First, the news earlier this week that Bhutan has got its first automated LA-style car wash.  After all, there are close to 60-thousand vehicles in the country, so it only stands to reason their owners would want to keep them clean.

Now, word that Google’s cruising the streets to map the once-isolated country with its Street View technology.  (Once complete, you’ll find them here.) This may sound like a big ho-hum, unless you consider that until not very long ago, there weren’t even street addresses in the capital city, much less widely-available maps. (Not to mention that visitors are still a relatively new phenomenon.)

ImageIn fact, just a few years back, it was a big deal when Canadian cartographer Andrea Williams volunteered to make a map of the capital city, Thimphu.  And just a few years before that, of course, it was a big deal that Bhutan got a radio station–which enabled the growing number of vehicles to have live, local accompaniment to their rides.


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#Breastfeeding versus the #environment

A recent push to get people to walk to work in Bhutan one day a week (car culture is sweeping Thimphu, and so a desire to avoid congestion and recommit to “green”) is creating another problem, as evidenced by this memo.  (Thanks to our correspondent in Mauritius.)

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Orphanage in Bhutan

In Radio Shangri-La I talk about the fact that there are no orphanages in Bhutan. Add this to the list of things that have changed. From the Bhutan Observer:

Beacon of hope for uncared for children

Raynaling provides temporary shelter to children living in difficult situations

In a quiet part of Thimphu lies a hope for orphans and uncared for children.

Nestled in wooded upper reaches of Motithang, Raynaling, a fancifully named transit shelter for unfortunate children, provides help for the children in difficult circumstances like orphans, runaways, and the abused and neglected.

Financially supported by the international child rights organization Save the Children, Raynaling aims to create an environment where children in difficult situations can receive adequate support and protection so that they grow up into productive citizens. The project mainly deals with children below 18 years of age.

Raynaling provides food, shelter, professional counselling and medical care for 30 days. The project manager, Sonam Wangmo, said the project will look for foster parents and facilitate adoption of children at both national and international levels. But she added that it will be the last resort.

Lhaden Wangmo, the counselor at Raynaling, said children are also given group therapy and family counselling. After they are emotionally reformed, the project supports children to re-enter school and find work.

Raynaling also meets and counsels families and relatives of uncared for children and tries to repair the lost bond.

Since it started last October, Raynaling has provided shelter to eight children of age ranging from 3 months old to 17 years. Most of them are runaways and neglected. They are now reunited with their families.

Out on the streets, uncared for children turn to crime for survival. They are susceptible to assault and abuse. Neglected girls can easily become victims of sexual assaults or be lured into prostitution besides the risk of being trafficked across the border.

Therefore, since its inception, the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) focused its attention on addressing the problem of children living in difficult circumstances.

The government has granted approval to NCWC to establish organizations for the protection of children living in difficult circumstances accordingly to the childcare and protection act.

By Ugyen Wangchuk

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