Tara-thon: a word combining ‘Tarayana’ and ‘marathon’
At the end of the year, two lecturers and ten students from Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan will run across the country from Kanglung to Thimphu for charity. They are being supported by the Tarayana Foundation and have the approval of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.
The objective of this event is to raise money through donations from the general public for the Tarayana Scholarship Endowment Fund.
Tarayana Scholarship Endowment Fund
This fund helps economically disadvantaged families in remote areas of the country send their children to school. Education in Bhutan is free, but many families depending mainly on subsistence farming cannot afford school uniforms, shoes, books, pens and so forth. Tarayana has indicated that two thousand ngultrum (CAN$50) is the average amount needed to pay for a child’s schooling for a year. The Tara-thon team hopes, through the funds that it raises, to give as many rural children as possible the chance to attend school.
Birth of an Idea
Tara-thon is the brainchild of two lecturers from Canada currently working for the English Department at Sherubtse College. After two rewarding years, Mr. Tony Robinson-Smith and his wife Mme. Nadya Ladouceur are nearing the end of their tenure at the college and their stay in Bhutan. Before returning home, they wanted to find some way of giving back not only to the institution that has treated them so well, but also to the Kingdom of Bhutan for granting them the opportunity to live and work in the country. As they are in the field of education, it seemed appropriate to find a cause that would benefit schooling.
Many students from Sherubtse College will be involved in the Tara-thon. Eleven of the college’s finest marathon runners intend to run right across the country with us; others will run stretches of the route near their home villages or towns. Some students have volunteered to raise awareness: alerting communities along the way, distributing sponsorship forms and collecting donations.
Promoting sports and fitness
Our project is an opportunity to visit schools that are located near the road and promote sports, fitness and active participation in physical activities. Many schools have Tarayana clubs that stage fund-raising sports events. We will ask members to encourage pupils to return to school for a day during their winter recess and take part in our Tara-thon and run a few kilometres to help those less fortunate than themselves.