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

What are the endangered mammals of Bhutan?

Currently, Bhutan is home to nine endangered mammals, with one being critically endangered.

Jul 23, 2021 16:30

All you need to know about De-suups (Guardians of Peace) in...

Whenever there’s a disaster, trouble, or a need, the guardians of peace are deployed, almost like magic.

Jul 02, 2021 10:35

Kidu: Bhutan's benevolent fund that has aided thousands of...

Bhutan’s kidu has ensured that children are educated, the sick receive proper care, the poor are aided, the media is...

Jun 24, 2021 11:10

6 reasons to get your very own 'Bhutan: Travelog'

A book that will tell you everything you need to know, see, taste, do, and enjoy in Bhutan? Take my money!

Jun 16, 2021 12:37



What are the endangered birds of Bhutan?

Bhutan is home to 26 endangered birds. One of these birds even has its own festival.

Jul 19, 2021 10:35

Removing Bhutan’s import taxes on sanitary products is crucial for period equity

What might elimination of the 30 percent import tax on sanitary supplies mean for Bhutanese citizens?

Jul 12, 2021 10:48


What are the endangered mammals of Bhutan?

Currently, Bhutan is home to nine endangered mammals, with one being critically endangered.

Jul 23, 2021 16:30

All you need to know about De-suups (Guardians of Peace) in Bhutan

Whenever there’s a disaster, trouble, or a need, the guardians of peace are deployed, almost like magic.

Jul 02, 2021 10:35


What are the entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives available in Bhutan?

The Bhutanese government has introduced all kinds of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. Even school kids are groomed to innovate,...

Jun 22, 2021 16:37

Support authentic Bhutanese handicrafts by local artisans

Whether you are interested in artisanal Bhutanese handicrafts or boutique sourced products with contemporary touch, the incredible...

Mar 25, 2021 12:09


What are the traditional sports of Bhutan?

The Bhutanese have a variety of traditional sports. Some test your aim and skills, whereas with others, it’s about pure brute strength.

Jul 13, 2021 11:15

What's with the unique archery culture in Bhutan?

In Bhutan, archery is more than just a sport. It is a way of life. The dancing, the singing, the drinking—it is a manifestation of the...

Apr 19, 2021 10:40


Travel to Bhutan: experience the charm of Paro district

Paro district receives the highest volume of travellers annually. It's also easily one of tourists favourite places in Bhutan.

Jul 14, 2021 11:20

Travel to Bhutan: attractions in the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu

Western Bhutan is the perfect region to learn more about the beautiful kingdom for those who are visiting Bhutan for the first time.

Jun 29, 2021 12:58


How to identify female or male Bhutanese names?

Organizational Psychologist Joyce E. A. Russell observed, “A person’s name is the greatest connection to their own identity and...

Jul 09, 2021 13:19

Where to satisfy your momo cravings in Thimphu, Bhutan

You can't go wrong with momo. It's almost always the answer to a growling stomach and social events.

Jun 28, 2021 11:20


Bhutan, with a leading vaccination rate in the region, commenced its second vaccination drive

Bhutan's second nationwide vaccination campaign will be held from July 20 - July 26, 2021.

Jul 21, 2021 11:05

Paro International Airport is certified as a safe airport for travellers

Paro International Airport was awarded the Certificate of Accreditation by Airports Council International (ACI).

Jul 16, 2021 17:43

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!