Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck, inaugurated RENEW’s Community Service Centre at Damphu in Tsirang today. The centre is the first community service centre initiated by a district administration. According to RENEW, this marks a significant milestone towards enhancing access to sexual and gender-based violence services in the community. Her Majesty who is also the Royal patron of RENEW is currently in the district on a Royal tour for a high-level advocacy focused on priority public health and social issues. The UNICEF’s country representative Andrea James is accompanying Her Majesty the Queen Mother.
The centre is located just next to Damphu hospital. The district administration constructed the centre spending over Nu 4 M.
The centre is set to become a hub for supporting individuals affected by various challenges including gender-based violence.
The centre has been actively engaged in delivering comprehensive sexuality education, elimination of violence against children, and sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes to children and young people. It serves as a safe space for young girls and other diverse genders.
According to RENEW, the centre’s inauguration underscores Her Majesty’s commitment to providing necessary resources and support for those in need.
80 clients, mostly women have sought assistance for various forms of abuse from the centre between April last year and June this year. The most reported cases were related to emotional abuse, followed by physical abuse, sexual abuse, and economic abuse.
With support from UNICEF, the centre has been equipped with essential facilities with two personnel to run its operations. The UNICEF Bhutan Representative Andrea James said the centre is a commendable example of how communities can respond to gaps in available services and facilitate women and girls’ access to gender-based violence services.
“This centre is incredibly important and it is a huge milestone in Bhutan. It is the first centre of its kind where women and other survivors of abuse can come here and seek counselling, legal support, advise for their children and their extended family. And in addition, you can also receive skills training for future livelihood.”
Following the inauguration of the centre, Her Majesty graced a high-level advocacy on priority public health, and sexual and gender-based violence to the community of Tsirang at the district’s Moenlamthang. The advocacy programme was jointly organised by the United Nations Population Fund, RENEW, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, and the Tsirang District Administration.
Her Majesty also granted Tokha to the public gathered.