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Volunteering in Bhutan

While Bhutan is crawling out of the ranks of the low income countries there still exists a huge disproportion in the living standards between urban areas and the more developed cities. Ninety percent of the underprivileged population is housed in rural areas which are far behind in health, education, infrastructure and other services.

Despite this situation Bhutan is very choosy about who it allows to engage in the field of volunteer work, so there are only a handful of NGOs based in the country. Finding a position while visiting the country is fairly unlikely, so those interested in volunteering have to arrange for employment with an NGO from overseas and indicate the preference to work in the kingdom.

Volunteers have the option of working from a few weeks up to a year, in fields as far ranging as working with children and elderly, to teaching, farming and conservation. The United Nations has a considerable base (WHO, UNDP, UNICEF) in the country, and volunteering through the UN is one good option. UN takes fresh college graduates as interns periodically. Also some large multinational corporations sponsor their employees as volunteers in Bhutan. The companies bear all costs and the individuals do the work for a few weeks. Checking with Human Resources of such companies can be another way to land a volunteer job in Bhutan.

Currently the maximum numbers of volunteers in Bhutan are from the Far East. Most of them enter Bhutan through national agencies working to help the government in building the foundations of agriculture and rural development, fundamental economic infrastructure, and social development.


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