Two men and a dream

They walked 738 kilometers and collected Nu 7.5 million that will go to Bhutan Kidney Foundation 

Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu


If there is a will, there is always a way and nothing is impossible if one is determined.

Tseten Dorji and Chimi are manifestations of the above idioms, for they walked for about 738 km, starting from Samdrup Jongkhar till Thimphu, driven by the passion for individual social responsibility and contribute to the community. Their walk had a dual purpose – create awareness on Kidney and the problems associated with it and generate funds for the Kidney Foundation.

Tsheten Dorji, known by his friends as Teacher is a registered guide. He has settled in Gelephu. Speaking to The Journalist, he said that he was inspired to do something after watching a documentary of a small girl with kidney problem. “The girl’s story was very touching and it matched several of our people with similar health problems. I then decided to do something for her and others,” he said, adding that after thinking about several options he decided to go for the walk. “I thought about the areas I would cover during the walk and realized that I could generate awareness, apart from garnering financial support,” he said.

Taking on a philosophical angle, Tseten said that he always believed everyone is born with a purpose. “I may have waited for a long time waiting for my purpose and perhaps it may have come and left me. But slowly, volunteerism became a part of my life and I then realized that social service was my purpose for being born as a human being,” he said,  adding that it was the “greater calling.”

On the walk, he said that it was challenging. “But challenges become opportunities and I and my friend decided that despite all odds we would complete the walk.” Covering eight Dzongkhags, the two collected Nu 6.4 million, which has been given to the Bhutan Kidney Foundation. “More than the money, it was very encouraging to see people from all rungs of the society help us. I realized that if one has a genuine cause, Bhutanese are ready to contribute,” Tseten said.

The messages disseminated to the people were to avoid self medication, drink water and visit hospitals for a general check-up at least twice a year.

Meanwhile, Chimi, who is involved in prostration mostly and based in Paro, said he wanted to do something for the nation.  “However, I had no idea. I then saw Tsheten’s post in the Bhutan Kidney Foundation (BKF) page and after that I did not leave Tseten,” he said, adding that it was an opportunity to serve the country and people.

He also said kidney problem in the country is huge, and that there is a lot that needs to be done, beginning from awareness. “The Bhutan Kidney Foundation is very important and the least I could do was join Tseten for the walk,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tseten spoke about the importance of the media. “I am not saying this because of what we did, but most of the time I find the media reporting on the ills of the society like corruption and other topics. These are important, but I feel that the media also need to promote the good side and story of our beautiful country,” he said. Tseten added that due to media coverage, people knew about the walk and who they were, which helped them. He further conveyed his gratitude to the dzongkhag and gewog officials, teachers, principals, students and hoteliers, who not only helped them but also motivated them.

On negative posts about him and the walk, Tseten said there are always people who criticize. “There are always two sides of the coin and I took all those comments positively and constructively.”

Tseten said that the Kidney Awareness Walk was dedicated to Her Majesty, the Gyaltsuen on Her Majesty’s 27th Birth Anniversary. Though the walk was slated for less than a month, due to time taken for advocacy, Tseten and Chimmi reached Thimphu on July 4, 2017.

Meanwhile, this is not the end. “The journey has just begun. We have covered eight dzongkhags. After September, Chimi and me will be covering the other 12 Dzongkhags,” he said. Tseten also mentioned that he has met many people who wants to join in the up-coming walk.


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