What Does it Mean to Have a Home?

Have you ever wondered how a home helps build a human? 

I didn’t understand it either the first time sir Sonam said it that way. Tarayana foundation field officer sir Sonam took us on a home visit to some of the families who benefited from the housing project schemes from Tarayana. 

“A home is more than just a roof over a person’s head,” he said. “A good home helps build a person’s self esteem and sense of security” He went on to explain that many who used to live in huts wouldn’t even come to the village meetings. ‘Dukpo Sunngo hang sele ya?’ (what would a pauper like me know?) they would say. Most feel less than, because the conditions they live in make them think so. With a sturdy house, the same person feels more confident and secure and works hard to maintain that.“

Traditional altar room in Lhuentse

Ap Rinchen and his wife were the first to share their story. 65 year old Ap Rinchen spent most of his life in Thimphu because of his duty as a soldier in the Royal bhutan Army. After resigning in 1993 he continued to live in Thimphu working as a security guard at a bank. “We couldn’t look after our house here because we were away for so long,” his wife told us. “Things were stolen, floors were falling apart. Tarayana sir helped us build this new home for us and we could finally return from the city. Now we have a toilet as well. It is all thanks to Tarayana sir”. 

Upgraded mud stoves in new homes
Roof over their heads

Sir Sonam consciously reminded her during the interview that the support actually comes from the Foundation and not his pocket. “I know that. We know you don’t carry bundles of ngultrums in your gho, but it is because of your attention to us here that we were blessed with this home.” she said. 

Aum Pema suddenly reminded me of what Tarayana’s Executive Director told us during our first meeting. She said one of the reasons why the grass root projects have been successful is because of the passionate field officers. Tarayana’s field officers do not have an office, they are required to go to the homes of the people to ensure that support is delivered. Aum Pema and Ap Rinchen’s gratitude to sir Sonam clearly shows us the genuine impact of the foundation’s work.