Few Rotarians will have had the opportunity to visit the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, because of its remoteness and the cost of getting there.
But now Rotarians in Great Britain & Ireland are being invited to attend a four-night International Rotary conference in the Buddhist nation which takes place from July 27th-31st next year.
The invitation is being extended by the Rotary Club of Thimphu. The Kingdom of Bhutan is situated in the eastern Himalayas, between India to the south and China to the north. It is roughly the size of Switzerland but only has a population equivalent to Wales.
The conference will be an opportunity to learn about the work of Rotary in this Himalayan Kingdom.”
The Rotary Club of Thimphu was chartered on April 24th, 2012. It is the only Rotary club in the whole country.
According to John Gisbey from Sandwich Rotary in Kent, and who is working with the Bhutan Rotarians to promote the conference, the Thimphu club’s main focus for projects is in education, health and in the agricultural sectors.
“The club is keen to establish ties with other clubs for the benefit of the people in Bhutan,” said John.
Normally, the cost of a trip to Bhutan would fetch up to £8,000. This is due to a tourist tax of $250 a day, plus a $65 tariff.
All I have to do is co-ordinate those who express an interest in attending, keeping them informed and ensure they get to New Delhi where they will be collected on a flight to Paro, Bhutan.”
The Rotary Club of Thimphu has arranged with the Royal Government of Bhutan a waiver of these costs which would put the cost of the trip close to £2,000.
In addition to the conference there will be a full cultural programme, with all transportation included, but no mountain trekking.
John Gisbey explained that the conference will be an opportunity to learn about the work of Rotary in this Himalayan Kingdom. He added that the Rotary Club of Thimphu are looking for speakers to tell the conference about successful fund-raising projects worldwide.
John’s own club has been involved in a matching grant project with the charity ‘Opening Your Heart to Bhutan’ which has funded a water filtration unit for Motithang Senior School in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. This will bring clean water to over 1,000 pupils and staff.
“Opening Your Heart To Bhutan was founded by Buddhist nun Pema Deki / Emma Slade,” said John.
“It is a small, but successful and effective UK-based charity, which is making a big difference to the lives of hundreds of disabled children in Bhutan. Pema Deki will be speaking at the conference.
“The Rotary Club of Thimphu has experience in hosting international conferences in Thimphu. The last conference included Rotary members from 17 different nations.
“All I have to do is co-ordinate those who express an interest in attending, keeping them informed and ensure they get to New Delhi where they will be collected on a flight to Paro, Bhutan. The rest is all in the capable hands of the Rotary Club of Thimphu.”
For more details, contact John Gisbey or call 07979 713 229.