To promote happiness, a group of elderly citizen, even after retirement, serve people with guidance and help.
Founded in 2011 by a group of eighteen retired civil servants, the Royal Society for Senior Citizens (RSSC) aims to spread happiness in the society.
President of the RSSC, Dasho Thinley Yoezer, said that elderly people have the knowledge and the expertise to assess the need of the situation and provide help wherever and whenever needed. “There are many places in the country where services and facilities are not reached as some people are not aware. Some have no means to avail of services.”
He said that in such cases, senior citizens could advise people and provide help in availing these services.
Currently, 165 registered members consisting of retired citizens who served in different sectors such as the Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Body Guard, and Royal Bhutan Police are in the Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) continuing to serve the public.
RSSC provides legal services and advises on problems and provides assistance during sickness.
The PBO has built four houses for 22 people for the purpose of meditation. Two persons, who had nobody to look after them, were taken care of by the organisation.
On October 14, RSSC along with Bhutan Sharing and Loving Youth will celebrate senior citizens’ day. The president said that Norbu Healing and Arts offer 50 percent discount to senior citizens for availing of services.
Dasho Thinley Yoezer said: “RSSC is not to expect from others but to give because our time is gone. We were in the government service, we have done our job but whatever we have done, we expect our children to follow and do the same.”
He said that they should not deviate from the services that they have provided. To ensure that, he said the elderly have to assess younger capabilities. That way responsibilities are there, but even if someone wants to meditate and live in solace, he or she could.
He said that elderly citizens go to schools and talk to students. “Students are small kids. They may not understand what we say but even teachers are our children. Children would look up to teachers so that way, we go to teachers also.” He said that younger people have to be taken care and that RSSC would provide assistance in every way of life and wherever senior citizens’ advice is required.
The president said that he couldn’t be useless. “I have received so much honour and the government is still paying me. Suddenly I am at a place where I am doing nothing.” He said that in whatever ways he could serve the country, he would. At present, there are as many as 4,000 pensioners in Bhutan and RSSC plans on recruiting retired citizens for the organisation.
RSSC aims to remain meaningfully engaged through counselling during transition period, providing information on medical care in the event of health problems. It also works toward harmonious living in the local community, to build bridges for communal harmony between young and old, rich and poor, and extend assistance to elderly citizens to live a dignified life and reach out to support senior citizens in times of distress and grief.
Monthly board meetings are held where current topics and other issues of interest are discussed.
Besides using senior citizen’s knowledge in helping people, the RSSC also work towards promotion of national culture, tradition and heritage sites, promotion of GNH through schools, colleges and training institutions and support clean environment.
RSSC faces many challenges in carrying out their activities. Dasho Thinley Yoezer said that old age is a setback. He said that people are scattered in remote places and that communication becomes difficult at times.
Funding was another challenge that the organisation faced. The president said the organisation had the privilege to collect donations for specific activities. All contributions and donations made to the organisation are exempted from tax.
To be a member of the organisation, a person needs to be above 56 years old and a citizen of the country. A monthly membership fee of Nu 300 is charged.
RSSC plans to create separate health counter for senior citizens in all health centres, banking services, and concession for elderly people.