1. Bhutan Stroke Foundation Registered as Civil Society Organization

BSF Founder Mr. Dawa Tshering receiving  Registered Certificates 

Bhutan Stroke Foundation was established in 2019 by group of volunteers, doctors & stroke survivals and their families and registered as Civil Society Organization (CSO) on 5th November 2020 with Registered No: CSOA/PBO-47.

2. Bhutan Stroke Foundation became 5th member of DPOs

Coordination workshop for the CSOs working int he area of disabilities

Date: 16th – 17th November 2020

Currently, there are five Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) registered with the Civil Society Organisation Authority (CSOA) of Bhutan.

The following CSOs are registered with CSOA:
1. Ability Bhutan Society (ABS)
2. Draktsho (Vocational Training Centre)
3. Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan (DPAB)
4. Bhutan Stroke Foundation (BSF)
5. Phensem (Parents Support Group)

Though each of these CSOs mandates and focus areas differ from each other, they all work towards one single goal: To benefit and improve the lives of the children and persons with disabilities and their families in the country.
While each of the CSOs work in their respective areas to reach out to children and persons with disabilities they are not aware of what other similar CSOs are engaged in because of absence of forum to come together to see what others are doing and share the experiences and knowledge gained during their engagements with the persons with disabilities.
All these CSOs are constrained by funds and expertise needed to help those persons with disabilities. With limited donors coupled with these donors also downsizing their funds for CSOs, it will be a big challenge for CSOs to seek funds in the future.
However, there also exist the resources and the expertise across these CSOs which could create a better impact to the children and persons with disabilities and their families if coordinated approach is pursued.
A coordinated approach can provide better implementation of programs by the relevant CSOs through need-based and target-oriented activities with wider choice and opportunities for children and persons with disabilities and their families and overall provide stronger voice for the vulnerable and marginalized section of the society.
Therefore, it is crucial for CSOs who are working in similar areas to coordinate and collaborate to not only effectively carry out their activities but also look for resource mobilization strategies to sustain themselves in the long run so that reliable services and support systems are provided to children and persons with disabilities and their families.
This coordination workshop (programme attached as annex 1) aims to explore the potential to network and collaborate to effectively provide the services needed and raise concerted concerns in the relevant fora to bring about positive policy changes to best serve the persons with disabilities to help them be productive members of the society.

Objectives of the workshop

  1. Identify common areas of interests, collaboration and partnerships.
  2. Develop action plans/areas of collaboration among the CSOs to facilitate maximum benefit to the children and persons with disabilities and their families.


The workshop was attended by the members of the 5 CSOs and a representative from the GNHC on the first day and two participants from HELVETAS for the closing day. 


The workshop was able to create better understanding among the participating CSOs on their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that exist to work together to compliment each other’s strengths to overcome the weaknesses.
The workshop agreed on collaborative action plans for the coming year as presented under outcomes above.
The comments on the coordination meeting show that workshop to be the preferred format which can accommodate informal and participatory approaches to review, share experiences and lessons and plan for the future.
The feedback on content indicates a more diverse range, but they can be grouped under review and planning, and sharing of knowledge and skills through sharing of experiences and lessons learnt.

( Sources: Report on Coordination workshop for the CSOs working with Children and persons with disabilities and their families 16th-17th November 2020, submitted by. Chimi Dorji, Facilitator)

3. Bhutan Stroke Foundation was introduced and became 53rd CSO members during CSO Annual Retreat

Founder presenting on Bhutan Stroke Foundation during CSOs Annual retreat 

More than 30 civil society organizations in Bhutan are attended the two-day Annual CSO Retreat in Punakha. Among others, the heads of CSOs discussed the emerging CSO landscape, CSO organizational needs, thematic groups, and the guidelines on CSO-government collaboration.

Bhutan today is seeing an expanding civil society space comprising 53 CSOs working in diverse areas of development such as media and democracy, health and sanitation, environment and conservation, poverty reduction and rural development, women and children, and animal protection and rights, among others.

Civil society occupies the third space in a society, the space between the government and the private sector. It reaches out to groups and individuals that the government is not able to reach.

53rd CSO Retreat was supported by Helvetas, UN Bhutan, and Bhutan Foundation. The retreat was conducted following all COVID-19 protocols.

The Founder & the Executive Director Mr. Dawa Tshering was being elected as one of the CSO Welfare task force member.


4. Bhutan Stroke Foundation’s First Annual General Meeting 2020

More than 30 members of Bhutan Stroke Foundation led by  Hon’ble Interim President,  Dr. Tashi Tenzin, Members of the Board,  Members of the Technical Advisory Committee, Founder , Staff Officers and Volunteers of the Secretariat attended Bhutan Stroke Foundation’s first Annual General Meeting held on 19th December 2020.

During the very important and historic meeting yesterday, members shared their concerns on the growing stroke issue in the country.

Dr. Phuntsho Namgyel ( PhD) addressing the annual general meeting

Elected Chair Dr. Phuntsho Namgyel (PhD) in his key note address said that Dr. Tashi Tenzin as the country’s sole neurosurgeon and many medical specialists like Dr. Tashi Wangdi and Dr. Yangchen have for years shown concern for the stroke cases rising in the country, and felt that this important medical subject was slipping through the cracks due to poor awareness on causes, signs and symptoms of stroke amongst people and the lack of stroke care delivery infrastructure on the part of the Government. Dr. Tashi Tenzin always wanted to do something about it.

On the other side of the world, Rinchen Pelmo, age 32, the young wife of our Founder Mr. Dawa Tshering suffered a stroke about a year ago which nearly took her life and left her severely paralyzed. During this most difficult period in his life, Dawa realized most painfully and frustratingly the lack of counselling and rehabilitative services for stroke patients in the country. He saw other stroke patients particularly of poor backgrounds condemned to life of isolation, total neglect and immense suffering. Dawa as always a social worker resolved to do something about it.
Dawa got connected to Dr. Tashi Tenzin, and the idea of the Bhutan Stroke Foundation was born.

Today as we conduct the first meeting of the BSF Board, on behalf of the people and stroke patients in the country, we most sincerely express our gratitude and say THANK YOU to Dr. Tashi Tenzin, Interim President and Dawa Tshering, the Founder. We wish for Dr. Tashi Tenzin to continue as the Chair of the BSF Board, and provide the much needed leadership and guidance during the critical take-off period, but we understand that as the serving Doctor in the Government, this is not possible. However, the good news is that Dr. Tashi Tenzin is going to continue to lead and guide the BSF works through the stroke Technical Advisory Committee.

We are honored today by the presence and participation of the Stroke Technical Advisory Committee members in the first meeting of the BSF for which we are grateful and say that this simple act means a lot to us. Thank you to Dr. Dechen P. Nidup and the wonderful team.

It is said that globally, one in four people will have a stroke in their life time. Everyone is at risk of stroke. However, it is preventable. Over the last four decades, the stroke incidents in rich countries have been halved while in the poor countries, the incidents have more than doubled. There is a big role for Bhutan Stroke Foundation as a civil society organization to complement and supplement the Royal Government’s effort of reducing the burden of stroke through effective prevention, better treatment, and rehabilitative services.

We want to place on record our gratitude to the Ministry of Health and CSO Authority for the quick approval of the registration of BSF as a Public Benefit CSO.

Here at the Board we are from different backgrounds, not so much professionally associated with health sector except Aum Beda Giri. Aum Beda Giri as all of us know is the Founder of the Ability Bhutan Society, a very important CSO dealing with disability issues in the country. Aum Beda Giri thus brings with her many years of experience at the Ability Bhutan Society, and we look forward to her guidance. Cheku Dorji, Sonam Gyamtsho and I, we commit ourselves to making BSF grow as a robust organization and work towards fulfilling the BSF’s vision of “Stroke Free Bhutan”.

As it is everywhere there goes a lot of work for a project behind the scenes. Over the past year Phuntsho Wangdi, Ngawang Choden, Tashi Choden, Yeshey Choden and many volunteers gave their time freely to Dawa in preparing the documents for registration of BSF with the CSOA. The CSO registration is subjected to a rigorous scrutiny but we sailed through it most successfully at our first attempt itself. We say a big thank you to them.

Last but not the least, COVID – 9 pandemic has so far caused over 1.67 million deaths in the world. Yet, it is 0 death in the country. On behalf of the Board and the Secretariat, I take this opportunity to offer our sincere and heartfelt Tashi Delek to the health professionals present here today and others across the country on receiving the Druk Thuksey award from His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo during the recent National Day celebration in Punakha.
Thank you and Tashi Delek.

The Founder also presented the work progress report for 2019-2020.

Bhutan Stroke Foundation was started by group of volunteers, professionals, stroke survival and families in 2019 and got registered as civil society organization on 5th November 2020.
Today Bhutan Stroke Foundation has 5 members of board of Directors, around 20 plus health professionals as Technical Advisory Committee and more than 500 volunteers.