A group of Bhutanese TikTokers is using the short video-sharing application to give back to the community. The group earlier this year, used the app to address the waste issues by collecting garbage from across the country. And now, they are looking after the welfare of people living with disabilities by raising funds through TikTok. The group is currently funding a rented shelter at Semtokha for a group of people using wheelchairs.
Currently, four people aged 21 to 35 using wheelchairs live in the shelter at Semtokha. They get financial support from the Bhutanese TikTokers group to pay rent and buy food and other necessities. They have been receiving financial support for around two months now.
And they are not the only beneficiaries. The Tiktokers also handed over Nu 170,000 to Tsewang Zangmo, a woman living with a disability in Monggar to help her set up a business.
“It has been three months since I opened my shop. I am not only able to sustain myself but also help my siblings and my mother. Compared to before, my mental well-being has improved a lot because I have always wanted to open a shop and do business,” said Tsewang Zangmo.
Karma Kuenzang Dorji, the person who started the initiative says he heard about the hardships of people living with disabilities while carrying out the voluntary nationwide cleaning campaign earlier this year.
“We are not an organization but a voluntary-based group. We started helping people dependent on wheelchairs after understanding their problems. They don’t get basic support to buy food, travel, change their urine pipe, and get their diapers. And also, sometimes they really need emotional support and this is what we have been doing so far,” said Karma.
Karma’s group currently provides financial support to around 13 people from different parts of the country who use wheelchairs and crutches.
“We get funds from our TikTok group and most members are those who live abroad,” said Thinley Gyeltshen, the group coordinator.
They are planning to take this initiative further by starting a center to help set up businesses for people using wheelchairs and crutches. This is to enable them to make themselves self-reliant. The group plans to rent an apartment where they can start the groundwork. Karma has garnered Nu 1.1 M from supporters in Europe.
“In that place, we will be starting baking, cafe, tailoring, printing, and yogurt-making businesses because these are skills that wheelchair users can learn. We want to give them an opportunity to earn income. I have been visiting Europe and getting some support. I want to invest that money in the center,” said Karma.
According to the Department of Law and Order, entities involved in online fundraising are required to seek prior approval. This is to ensure accountability and transparency of the funds collected and expedited.
The Tiktokers’ group plans to seek formal approval from the Department of Law and Order and register themselves as a non-profit organization in the future.
Karma believes that instead of relying solely on the government, citizens should do what they can in their own capacity to promote well-being in communities.
Edited by Phub Gyem
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