On July 2nd and 3rd, VAST distributed relief rice to Zarbisa, Rangrikha, and Rangrichungku villages Kabjisa under Punakha dzongkhag. Each of the 14 recipient households received 175 kg of rice and 6 families from other villages received smaller amounts 25 kgs to 50 kgs. Households were selected on the basis of a baseline survey conducted by VAST volunteers and advice from community leaders. The rice will help families feed themselves until the harvest without having to borrow rice from other landowners, a process that keeps borrowers stuck in a cycle of debt.
The rice was dispersed in preparation for the fourth rice bank project, which will begin next year.
VAST Bhutan would like to thank Country Walkers, USA; Akiko Ueda of Japan; and Dorji Gyeltshen of Smile Bhutan, for their generous financial support that made this initial step possible. We would also like acknowledge the contributions made by Tashi Tobgay and Pema Tshering who provided their vehicles for transportation of volunteers. Thank you also for all the hard work done by volunteers who conducted the baseline survey and relief rice distribution. In particular we would like to thank the following volunteers: Tshogpa Karma of Zabisa Chiwog, Apa Dorji from Kabjisa, Tshering Dorji from Kabjisa, Phurba, Rajesh Gurung, Sangay Dorji, Pema Norbu, Bhagiraj, Karan, Maiyesh, Jason, Lobsang, Tshering Wangchuk, Palden, Wang, and many others.
VAST Bhutan is still looking for more sponsors for the establishment of the fourth rice bank in 2015.