Message from the President
I am happy to see all of you today at the inaugural session of the 14th Tarayana Annual Fair as we Celebrate Partnerships.
Partnerships made it possible to make the difference as we continue to serve remote rural communities for the past decade and a half. The partnership and confidence we enjoy with our communities is a special privilege we continue to nurture. We have partnered with our communities in mutual respect and as equal partners and that, I believe, is one of the secret ingredients of the progress we have achieved. The inter-connectedness of all things could not be more pronounced than in empowering our rural communities. Coordination, collaboration and cooperation have been central in providing holistic rural development.
We have partnered with all of you here today in one way or the other over the course of the years of Tarayana’s existence. You have been our sponsors and confidence builders, our advisors and volunteers; you have purchased and promoted rural crafts and products. You have inspired us to our best in the service of our rural communities. We could not have done it without the love and support you have showered on us along the way. We thank each and every one of you.
We are grateful to his Majesty The King, for awarding the National Order of Merit (Gold) to Tarayana on the National Day celebrations in Trongsa last year. We are delighted that Civil Society as a sector was organized as an important partner in the growth and development of our country.
There is a growing interest in the holistic development of our communities from the global development arena. It is heartening to note that our work of service is being recognized as a sustainable way of improving the lives and livelihoods of our communities.
In working with the rural communities, it is apparent that the “whole is greater than sum of its parts”. No longer are the communities satisfied just receiving various development inputs, instead they are willing and enthusiastic to be driving the change that they want.
Paying careful attention to what our communities, both young and old, are saying allowed us to better understand their aspirations and dreams while giving insights to their needs and wants. Together, in partnership, we selected the best possible programmes that brought about transformative and empowered change. Thus the pace of the growth and development is exponential while sustainability is ensured.
Working within the overall development provided by Gross National Happiness, we let the common sense of our communities guide us. They are best placed to understand the issues and challenges they face and are also better equipped to find local solutions that they can manage.
In the process, all at Tarayana also grew with the rich experiences of learning and sharing. We understood the local cultural overtures and nuances; learned the natural cycle of work and leisure; of traditional means of nurturing and resting the soil; of medicinal plants and herbs that healed most ailments and this is not an exhaustive list, so in as much as we helped empower local community members, we in turned were also empowered.
Behavioral change takes time and effort in some cases while in others it is as quick as flicking on a switch that illuminates the room. Tarayana Centre for Social Research and Development has started undertaking some social research and we hope to be able to share some of our finding in the months ahead.
Nation building is the conscious efforts of one and all irrespective of where we are. Policies and development philosophies are only as good as how they are implemented. We are happy to note that Tarayana is uniquely placed to help operationalise the noble vision of GNH.
It is in selecting the various partnership pathways that will achieve the vision of a happy and prosperous nation. We believe that we have important roles to play in ensuring that the future remains bright and beautiful for our children and their grandchildren’s children too.
Linking the global Sustainable Development Goals to local actions is necessary if we are to achieve them. Climate Change issues and challenges need to be broken down into implementable practical work-plans at the community level if we are to make a collective difference. The challenges of major shifts in global leadership will not be able to derail the millions of small communities doing what is good for the earth as we take climate action in partnerships and networks.
Transformative change can still be achieved one community at a time especially if we paid more attention to common sense and ancient wisdom instead of just the market economy. Synergistic partnerships are necessary for empowered and transformative change to take place.
The time for taking action in strengthening partnerships is now. We are living today, at a time when we are the most connected, most educated, technologically advanced and collectively the wealthiest. It is therefore our collective shame that many amongst the global family still face hunger, conflict, inequality and strife. We need to extend our partnerships to improve the lives and living conditions both in the region as well as outside towards a more inclusive world, living in peace and harmony.
The global SDGs lack proper space and narrative for culture. Complex as it may be, the basis of partnerships can be strengthened through tolerance and better understanding of the cultural context. We do not exist in vacuum and understanding cultural heritage helps us anchor our roots and gives us the context within which we experience our realities. Not including culture is a missed opportunity as the global community sets up their development benchmarks and targets. The intangible benefits of cultural heritage are so critically important in working toward peace, harmony and prosperity for all.
While “Celebrating Partnerships”, it is important for me to highlight the synergies built between several stakeholders in improving the lives and livelihood of our rural communities. Just as the fruition of any phenomenon is based on the timely coming together of all the elements, holistic development also comes about through our collective actions. We would like to thank all our donors, advisors, volunteers, government organizations, local government, community elders and local leaders in partnering with us in serving our rural communities. We could not have done it without all of you as our dear partners.
Her Majesty The Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck