Thousands of Bhutanese signed up as DeSuups during COVID-19 Pandemic

Email

While COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of inconveniences, challenges, and uncertainties to individuals, it did not deter the Bhutanese to step forward to play a part in being active citizens.

39th Batch DeSuups undergoing the DeSuung Programme

DeSuung a.k.a “Guardians of Peace”, was an initiative created by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to promote the spirit of volunteerism, positive influence of ethics, community service, integrity and civic responsibility in society. It was His Majesty the King’s noble vision to create a voluntary organisation for Bhutanese to support and serve their neighbours, communities, society and country at large. Since its launch in February 2011, Bhutan has trained 12848 Desuups (volunteers) in Bhutan across 7 training centres in the country. 

Don in bright orange uniforms, these reliable men and women can be found everywhere during crises and peace time - at the festival grounds, major national events, reconstruction projects, natural disasters ground, religious congregations, national borders. In a country that faces resource and manpower crunch, it is only right to focus on building the human capital to help ensure that the country will continue to progress steadily. 

"There is a higher responsibility - not written in any legal document but instead enshrined in humanity and history - a natural responsibility and duty that we all must shoulder equally, irrespective of who we are. Of paramount importance to the strength of a nation, is the ability of her people to live as one united family - a community in which interaction is marked by trust, understanding and cooperation." His Majesty The King

DeSuups have always been at the forefront of disaster responses within the country from fire to landslides and the spirit of volunteerism transcended borders in times of needs. In 2015, upon the Royal Command of His Majesty The King, some DeSuups also went to Nepal to assist during the major earthquake. The Desuups were deployed as part of the first-ever Bhutanese Medical Response team, which operated a self-sufficient district hospital in Nepal for several weeks. It was a significant moment for the Desuung fraternity as the support and solidarity rendered generated much goodwill and appreciation for Bhutan beyond the borders. 

DeSuups in Nepal during the earthquake in 2015

In April this year, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, His Majesty The King addressed the nation through a televised speech and reinforced the message on the importance of unity and cooperation during these unprecedented times. To supplement the efforts of the health professionals and armed forces, an Accelerated Desuung Programme was created. There are around 2,500 slots available for each batch and seats were said to be taken up within hours of registration opening. This spirit of volunteerism and servant leadership shown in this tiny Himalayan nation is truly remarkable. 

The DeSuups undergo an intensive and rigorous 3 weeks training that begin as early as 4am well into the night. During this pandemic that threatens the peace, security and prosperity of the nation, DeSuups truly lived up to their role of being the Guardians of Peace. They have been supporting the frontliners in various capacities such as loading and unloading of goods to help healthcare workers in quarantine centres, screening people at point of entries and carrying out surveillance and patrolling in the towns and borders.  

“His Majesty the King has been devoting himself selflessly to serve the people in all corners of the country. He has sacrificed a lot to ensure that we are safe and happy. He is really working tirelessly everyday. I think this is the time for people to do something for the country. I was really touched by the speech made by His Majesty. It inspired me to sign up to be a DeSuup,” says Tobgay, a tour guide with Druk Asia

During this time of pandemic when tourism is on pause, Tobgay has been actively involved in DeSuup duties. The Desuung training has not only strengthened his disaster management skills which will come in handy for his role as a tour guide but it also helped him become physically fitter and healthier. From being 108kg prior to joining Desuung training, he now weighs around 88kg. 


Tobgay with his guest in Bhutan

Tobgay in his bright orange DeSuup uniform

While COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of inconveniences, challenges, and uncertainties to individuals, it did not deter the Bhutanese to step forward to play a part in being active citizens. Being a DeSuup is one of the highest forms of voluntary service in Bhutan and it is undoubtedly that these selfless men and women in orange will continue to serve the Tsa-Wa-Sum (King, People, Country) with unwavering dedication and loyalty. There is always this unmistaken sense of pride that shines through whenever they put on the orange uniform or just in the way they speak about being a DeSuup. 

Like Tobgay, many of his peers in the tourism industry have been affected by the pandemic when tourism was put on halt upon the discovery of the first COVID-19 imported case in the country. However, many Bhutanese have rose up to the occasion to serve and to give back to their communities in different ways such as volunteering in the local clinic and cleaning up the streets. 

If the pandemic was a test to a country’s resilience and unity, Bhutan would have passed with flying colours. 

----

The DeSuung fraternity is made up of thousands of volunteers from all walks of life from students to the Former Prime Minister of Bhutan coming together with a common purpose of being Guardians of Peace. 

Related Posts

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...

Jun 17, 2021 11:32

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 13 traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts?

“Were I to epitomise Bhutanese art with one word, that word would be colour... The attention to detail, the symmetry of...

Jun 09, 2021 11:17

Not only is Bhutan carbon negative, Bhutan is leading the world’s...

The environmental conservation efforts in Bhutan is a role model to the world.

May 22, 2021 11:48

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

6 popular beverages to enjoy in Bhutan

From butter tea to different types of alcohol, Bhutan has something for everyone.

May 11, 2021 10:54

Latest

News

The sacrifice of an extraordinary King in these difficult times

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden

Jun 14, 2021 16:57

Bhutan is hopeful of lifting restrictions on tourism after second dose of COVID-19 vaccination

It’s been 9-week since the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Bhutan.

Jun 04, 2021 13:20

Features

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.

Jun 17, 2021 11:32

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

Business

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

Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and...

Dec 25, 2020 22:13

Sports

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

Contributing to the country through the love for football

It's been a month since the conclusion of Bhutan Premier League 2020. Daily Bhutan interviews Paro FC to find out more about the club. Below...

Dec 21, 2020 17:05

Travel

Bhutan is the perfect destination for luxury travel

The definition of 'luxury travel' has changed because of COVID-19.

Jun 01, 2021 18:32

8 most popular festivals in Bhutan that you should check out

Bhutanese festivals are colourfully vibrant affairs that draw crowds from all over the world.

May 14, 2021 17:15

Lifestyle

What are some of the Bhutanese beliefs and superstitions

For a country deeply rooted in spirituality, you will find Bhutanese especially the Buddhist rely on astrology for major events in life....

May 25, 2021 11:17

Khata: The multipurpose Bhutanese scarf

“Khatas are the Buddhist equivalent of a hallmark card.” —Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming

Apr 29, 2021 10:53

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!