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RENEW (respect, educate, nurture, and empower women)

RENEW, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the relief and empowerment of disadvantaged women and adolescent girls in Bhutan launched its website on December 8, 2005 in Thimphu in the presence of its founder, Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, cabinet ministers, senior government officials and members of the international community.

RENEW (respect, educate, nurture, and empower women) was established in 2004 in response to the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged women. The organisation aims to integrate disadvantaged women into mainstream society as socially and economically independent productive members.

The website launch, according to the working committee members of RENEW, would help in sensitising the key stakeholders like the decision makers, donors, and other organisations about RENEW and its objectives. "Many people are completely unaware of our existence," said one of the committee members.

Her Majesty the Queen, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck

The website (www.renew.org.bt) carries sections on RENEW's mission, objectives and information on the ongoing projects and activities. A separate section carries information on the advocacy tours by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck.

The prime minister, Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup, chief guest at the launch, said that vulnerable and dependent states subject women to exploitation, physical violence and abuse in the hands of the male counterparts. "Being equal, is therefore, very important and we have to ensure that they are brought to the level where we genuinely feel that we are equal," he said.

In her statement, the Resident Representative of UNDP, Ms. Renata Lok Dessallien, said that although a young organisation, RENEW had already done a great deal to raise awareness in Bhutan about women's issues. "At the global level, gender-based violence, particularly violence against women is a very serious problem," she said.

Her Royal Highness, Ashi Euphelma Choden Wangchuck, also graced the launch.

This article was contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper

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