RENEW's Livelihood Project: Lighting up the lives of women


Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck founded RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) in 2004.

RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of women and children in Bhutan, with specific attention to the survivors of domestic violence (DV) and Sexual & Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). 

Rarely is a battered woman accustomed to managing her life, let alone her own money. When a woman goes to RENEW, she will first be given counselling followed by the support to learn skills through the Livelihood Project programs.

While they are undergoing training, RENEW continues to provide on-going support and guidance to ensure the viability of the group and personal business plans, life skills counselling, career guidance and life skill education.

One of the key factors keeping women in vulnerable situations is financial dependence and insecurity. These contribute to many women returning to their abusive relationships to meet their basic needs. 

Even if a woman who has been a victim of domestic violence summons the courage to leave her highly insecure situation, her options for a better life are limited. She either often has at least one dependent child, is not employed outside of the home, has no property solely hers or lacks access to cash in hand. In most cases, many of these women knock on RENEW's door with only the clothes they are wearing. 

Recognizing that economic instability is a link that binds a woman to her abuser, RENEW Livelihood Project was established with the aim to provide appropriate and sustainable skills training that lead to income generation and greater financial independence.

A Handicraft Training Unit was established in 2008 as a reintegration program, especially for women and girls who are subjected to domestic violence and gender-based violence. Since then until 2018, the project focused on teaching sewing, advanced sewing, machine embroidery and food production (making ginger candy, amla candy and pickles). 

Over the years, RENEW learnt of the women’s interest in learning skills in different areas such as beauty parlour, baking, repairing electronic appliances, etc. From 2019 onwards, organized skills training on need is based on other trade opportunities depending on resource availability. Over 600 women and girls had undergone the training to date. 

With the new skills acquired, the trainees have improved their income. Based on interviews done by RENEW as part of their monitoring process on 18 former basic tailoring groups, 79% of all trained women have started to get regular income with their new skills. 

The Livelihood Project also takes on projects from other corporations and outsources these projects to the women. In Thimphu, 15 women are actively engaged in their personal projects and projects outsourced by RENEW. They are provided with raw material to reduce the hassle of having to look for suppliers. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, they are undertaking projects for stitching facemasks. 

Another project in progress that they take pride in is producing Magic Bag for the Early Childhood and Development Care Centers (ECDCC) in rural centers of Save the Children. They are making the contents of the Magic Bag, such as stacking rings, flashcards, soft toy, storybook, etc.

To celebrate the additional crafts created by RENEW-trained women, the RENEW Souvenir Shop — a weaving center and store in support of the Livelihoods Project — is opened next to RENEW's office to sell their unique, high-quality products. All proceeds directly benefit the women artisans to ensure the continued development of their skills and livelihoods.

Through increasing livelihood opportunities, women gain confidence in their ability to improve their lives and reduce the possibility of reconciling with an abusive partner.

The Livelihood Project is currently active in seven Dzongkhags (provinces) and aims to provide these services in all twenty Dzongkhags of Bhutan gradually.

To support the women in the form of finance and resources so that they have a chance to change the course of their life, you can contact RENEW at [email protected]

Related Posts

RENEW and Ministry of Education collaborate to improve menstrual...

On May 11 2021, Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW) and Ministry of Education signed a memorandum of...

May 12, 2021 14:43

Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck delivered keynote...

Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden delivered a keynote address at the 54th session of the Commission on Population and...

Apr 21, 2021 14:53

Rifles and Rituals: Satire and Societal Shifts in Bhutan as...

Pawo Choyning Dorji, whose film "The Monk and the Gun" offers insight into the Himalayan nation's modernization process.

Feb 20, 2024 11:04

All You Need to Know About Gelephu Mindfulness City

The kingdom of Bhutan is planning to develop a "mindfulness city" covering about 2.5% of its land, which is larger than...

Feb 08, 2024 10:42

Bhutanese artist wins one of Asia's top art contests

The International Artist Grand Prize Competition is held in Taipei, Taiwan.

Oct 04, 2023 18:19

Art United: A Contemporary Vision' Exhibition Now Open to Public

'Art United: A Contemporary Vision' Exhibition was unveiled by Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck

Sep 19, 2023 18:56



Thailand and Bhutan to Advance Bilateral Relations

Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay is on an official visit to Thailand from 25 to 28 June 2023.

Jun 28, 2024 16:47

Navigating Change and Bhutan's Path to Sustainability

Bhutan is among the world's most exclusive destinations. CNA delved into Bhutan's transformative journey and tourism policy.

Jun 19, 2024 11:35


Rifles and Rituals: Satire and Societal Shifts in Bhutan as Portrayed in 'The Monk and The Gun

Pawo Choyning Dorji, whose film "The Monk and the Gun" offers insight into the Himalayan nation's modernization process.

Feb 20, 2024 11:04

All You Need to Know About Gelephu Mindfulness City

The kingdom of Bhutan is planning to develop a "mindfulness city" covering about 2.5% of its land, which is larger than the size of...

Feb 08, 2024 10:42


Brand Bhutan: Karma Yangchen

Karma Yangchen, a distinguished artisan from Bhutan exemplifies a profound commitment to the art of handwoven textiles.

Dec 14, 2023 10:22

Brand Bhutan: Bhutan Herbal Tea

Bhutan Herbal Tea is the brainchild of two Bhutanese individuals who first crossed paths in New York during a Bhutanese New Year gathering...

Nov 25, 2023 13:56


Bhutan Cricket's New Milestone: The Inaugural Indoor Cricket Academy

The Bhutan Cricket Council Board (BCCB) inaugurated its inaugural indoor cricket academy on 20th December, with the objective of ensuring...

Dec 21, 2023 14:57

Paro FC Clinches Third Consecutive Victory in BOB Bhutan Premier League

Paro FC has once again claimed the BOB Bhutan Premier League championship, marking their third consecutive title victory during the season's...

Dec 12, 2023 10:26


Bhutan Reduces SDF for the First 15,000 Bangladeshi tourists

This special scheme will be valid until 2027.

Jun 05, 2024 10:09

Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future: Bhutan's Tourism Turns 50

Bhutan is set to commemorate the golden jubilee of its tourism industry, marking 50 years since the nation first welcomed international...

Jun 03, 2024 20:34


Chunipa Losar: Bhutan's Timeless Celebration of Traditions and Offerings

Chunipa Losar is a day of offerings, a moment when communities come together to express gratitude, seek blessings, and strengthen bonds.

Jan 12, 2024 12:31

Bhutan's Time-Honored Tradition: Exploring the Nyilo Season and the Lolay Ritual

Approximately 750 children recently took part in the traditional practice known as "lolay" in Bhutan, marking the beginning of the Nyilo...

Jan 04, 2024 14:18

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!