The Guardians of Peace
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
His Majesty has said that Bhutan's strength comes in part because of its smallness and that all citizens must take part in nation building. Because it is a vulnerable country, geopolitically, ecologically, economically, and other ways, people have to step up to protect our way of life. And so many people have.
The Desuung, meaning "Guardians of Peace" are over 4,000 strong volunteer force created by His Majesty on February 14, 2011, to help in times of disaster. Now in Bhutan, in the time of COVID-19, they are ubiquitous in their bright orange uniforms. It gives me such a sense of security and peace to see them going about town and helping out in large and small ways. In fact, many Desuups are currently in training with the Ministry of Health so that they can take over medical duties at the over 120 quarantine centers in the country to help free up the medical staff.
The Desuup volunteers go through a physical and mental training program, "built upon the spirit of 'volunteerism' and the positive influence of ethics and values of community service, integrity, and civic responsibility," as described on the Desuup website. As Desuups they pledge to volunteer during national disasters, help in charitable activities and "be of service to others" for the rest of their lives.
We in Thimphu and elsewhere in Bhutan are so grateful for their dedication and service. Thank you and God bless to all the Desuups.
Pelden Drukpa Geylo!
Photos by Rinchen Tshering
Raising prayer flags at Sangaygang above Thimphu Valley.
Unloading bags of rice at Thimphu's Weekend Market. That's well over 100 pounds of rice he's carrying.
Helping firefighters put out a forest fire on February 18, 2020.
From Royal Family of Bhutan Instagram
"Upon Royal Command, there will be an accelerated DeSuung training programme to train about 2,500 teachers, in-service graduates, unemployed youth, and other volunteers simultaneously in 7 different locations. The training will commence on the 6th of April, with special focus on public health and security, to prepare the trainees to support health workers in our efforts against COVID-19 if necessary. All the volunteers and trainers will be tested for COVID-19 at the start of the 3-week program to rule out the possibility of a community spread. A second batch of DeSuups will be trained upon the completion of this batch."