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Helping the young with business and education

Loden Foundation, which started in 2000, caters to the  needs of the youth.

The non-governmental organisation provides basic early learning education and scholarships for higher education to the children from disadvantaged backgrounds. It also supports entrepreneurship.

The foundation was officially registered as a Civil Society Organisation in 2010. It provides entrepreneurship training, interest-free loans and professional mentors for business development. In 2010, the foundation started entrepreneurship programme.

The foundation provides entrepreneurship training to aspiring entrepreneurs and also helps them write business proposals. The best project proposal receives assistance from the foundation.

Nima Lodey is one of the recipients of support from the foundation. In 2014, he availed of Nu 1.1 million loan from the foundation for fiber installation and maintenance service in Thimphu. The idea was to provide high standard service with top quality fiber that will be used for television cable connections and internet connections, among others.

Today Nima Lodey has about ten individual working with him.

Similarly, Deki Wangmo also started her tire business through Loden. She has already repaid her Nu 7,000,000 loan from the foundation within two years and a month time.

The foundation provides up to 1.5 million interest-free loans to the creative and innovative minds and business ideas.

However, not every projects supported by Loden achieve the expected outcome. Projects that it supported have failed.

In 2010, Tharchen started a dairy farm in Dagana with the support from the foundation. But he had to stop the idea because of issues such as water shortage and lack of pastureland. As he worked towards a new project, the foundation extended the loan repayment time from 2013 to 2016. Today Tharchen is the founder and the Chief Executive Officer of iBEST institute of Thimphu.

“In Bhutan the major failure in supporting the entrepreneurs is from the side of commercial banks. Loden foundation is one of a kind with its plans and projects just for the benefit of aspiring entrepreneurs,” Tharchen said.

An entrepreneur can also receive professional mentors to guide them in the developing process of the business. The foundation also assists the entrepreneur with the mentors visiting and monitoring the business at least twice a year.

The foundation’s executive director, Dorji Tashi, said that the volunteer mentors are meant to help the entrepreneurs in professional development of the business.

Dorji Tashi said that the business didn’t exactly fail because individuals were able to return the loan received from the foundation.

The foundation today has supported about 133 business projects and provided entrepreneurship training to more than 3,100 individuals in the country. Of the 133 projects, 65 are outside Thimphu; 42 are female entrepreneurs.

The foundation still continues its initial plan of identifying beneficiaries from Bhutan for further studies. Six students from various parts of Bhutan received scholarship for further studies in and outside Bhutan in 2017.

The foundation has supported 108 students and funded 25 higher education students until today. Dorji Tashi said, “Our intention has always been to cater a special group; those who come from an economically challenged background.”

The foundation was one of the first organisations to support children in school in Bhutan by providing for uniforms, stationeries, sports gear and other necessary items. The foundation provides opportunities for higher education for deserving students of the country.

The early learning education was felt necessary because of limited day care centres and kindergartens in the rural parts of Bhutan for early child development and learning. Loden Early Child Care Development Centre aims to give equal opportunities to the rural children and help them gain an early start in education.

ECCD centre in Chengmari in Samtse, Lingmithang in Mongar, and Ura in Bumthang were constructed by the foundation.

The foundation also promotes Bhutanese culture and tradition in other parts of the world and undertakes other charitable activities for the welfare of the public.

Dorji Tashi said that the foundation also has programmes such as oral heritage and written heritage projects.

Besides other donors, the foundation also receives fund from Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) through the joint project called Loden DHI fund.

The Loden Foundation is dedicated to fostering an enlightened and happy society in Bhutan through preservation of Bhutanese culture and tradition, promotion of education, learning and entrepreneurship among the Bhutanese children and young adults.

The primary objective of the foundation is to promote education and learning in Bhutan.

It aims to help Bhutanese youth obtain education and learning at the preschool, school and post-school stages.

It promotes Bhutanese culture and tradition in other parts of the world and undertakes other charitable activities which contribute to the welfare of the public.

Main projects: Loden Entrepreneruship Programme, Loden Early Learning Centre, Loden Knowledge Base and Loden Scholarship Scheme.

Phurpa Lhamo

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