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Open Your Heart to Bhutan

654. Emma Slade

Emma Slade is the founder of ‘Opening Your Heart to Bhutan’, a charity dedicated to supporting children in the country.

Emma spent seven years working in the city of London before travelling for a number of years and eventually being ordained as a Buddhist nun in Bhutan. She combines her business background and her in-depth knowledge of Bhutan to serve as Chief Executive of the charity in an entirely voluntary capacity.

Emma’s charity dedicates itself to improving the quality of life of children living in rural areas of the country whether that can be achieved with simple interventions such as providing bedding or clothing, or whether more complex work is required, such as building toilets, constructing sewage systems, making safe cooking areas or providing sufficient sleeping areas. Emma is currently fundraising to build a hostel for girls with special needs.

Emma was presented her award by Michael Rutland OBE, the British Honorary Consul, and Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Draktsho School for Special Children. 

In a personal letter to Emma, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“You have dedicated your life to doing everything you can to improve the quality of life for children living in rural Bhutan. By combining your business background with your in-depth knowledge of the country, you are ensuring their needs are met wherever possible and their lives are transformed.

Across the world British volunteers like you are helping to build a better world for everyone. The Point of Light award is a small thank you on behalf of the whole country, in recognition of your exceptional service.”

Emma said:

“Inspired by a deep love for the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan,  our charity Opening Your Heart to Bhutan, brings children with special needs joy and the opportunity to build meaningful lives within their communities. We work in practical ways on the ground in Bhutan improving educational facilities and access to medical help to the most vulnerable children in this wonderful country. Many people in the UK have been touched by our work and provided donations, physical goods and wishes of support. All of this keeps us going as, child by child, we work, building a bridge of friendship with Bhutan. 

I am very thankful for this award, it came as a great surprise, and a huge thank you to those in the UK who have donated to our charity and to our friends in Bhutan, this is an award for all of us.”

Michael Rutland, the British Honorary Consul to Bhutan, said:

“Emma Slade combines her style and experience in the world of international finance with the attributes of a Buddhist nun to bring to her charity enormous energy, dedication and sensitivity. Her work is making a real difference to lives of many children in the remote Kingdom of Bhutan, and provides a unique example of the power of volunteerism to have a positive effect on the lives of others.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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