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1. Bhutan – The Olep community of Rukha

Bhutan’s government and royal family are visionary in taking a long-term, holistic view on all decision making relating to its people and land and, with 70% of the country required by law to remain under forest cover, it is one of only two carbon negative countries in the world. But Bhutan’s culture is under threat from climate change and economic pressures. We work, alongside our project partners at The Tarayana Foundation, with the Olep people, Bhutan’s oldest indigenous community., in the stunning Rukha valley. When we first visited, the Olep told us that they were fearful of the local youth moving away and of their culture fading. Only three people could still fluently speak the Ole language. It has been an honour to work with the community and now to call them our friends. With them, we have created the first dictionary of Ole, which is now being taught to all the local children, and we have built a community centre that doubles as a homestay to welcome visitors. The Bhutanese government now wants to replicate our Rukha project in 21 other areas.

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