Opening Your Heart to Bhutan is a UK-based charity which brings children with special needs joy and the opportunity to build meaningful lives.
Through simple, practical acts of compassion, the charity provides access to safe medical care, disability aids and basic amenities in the isolated rural areas of East Bhutan. It believes in education as a means of empowerment and supports the digging of sewage systems, building of hostels and improvement of facilities at Draktsho, a vocational training centre in Tashigang.
The charity is run by Emma Slade, a Buddhist nun who travels regularly to the country to assess needs on-the-ground and supports a network of local people who work with families as they grow.
No one is paid to run the charity, and costs are kept to a bare minimum to maximise funds going directly to those most in need.
In 2017 Emma published her first book "Set Free", which captures her astonishing life from fast-paced city life to the stillness of Bhutan's Himalayan mountains. All proceeds from the book go to the charity and it is available to order on Amazon.
"with an in-depth knowledge of the country, you are ensuring needs are met and lives transformed".
The Rt Hon. Theresa May MP
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Having seen the tangible effect of Pema Deki’s book ‘Set Free’ and her work in Bhutan since 2015 I have witnessed true compassion in action. I’ve been delighted to support Opening Your Heart to Bhutan, and feel enormously privileged to help maximise the efforts of its fundraisers and donors, being particularly proud of the high donation-to-beneficiary ratio the charity achieves.
Karin van Maanen
Communicaton Officer & Treasurer
I first visited Bhutan with Emma in 2012 and after another visit I joined OYHTB to support Emma in her quest to help disabled children access education. I saw first hand how relatively small practical interventions could significantly reduce suffering - by providing the things we often take for granted in Western Europe. I also practice Tibetan Buddhism. Learning more about the Buddhist culture of Bhutan, as well as sharing my skills and knowledge as a Western yoga and mindfulness teacher, has been a delight and inspiration for me personally.
Charity Representative & Project Manager in Bhutan
Fundraising & Charity Promotion
Drawn by Emma’s story to find out more I was fortunate to be able to first visit the two Draktsho vocational training centres in Bhutan that the charity supports in October 2018. Seeing first-hand the difference already made to the lives of children and young adults with disabilities and their joy and appreciation of that support inspired me to get more involved with the charity. I believe in ‘helping others to help themselves’ and the Draktsho training centres do just this, empowering their students by equipping them with vocational skills to enhance their employment opportunities. In this way the students build self-esteem and are able to be more independent, confident and contributing members of their communities. Since early 2018 I have run a number of campaigns to raise funds for specific projects and assisted in various other fund raising activities. I feel very honoured to now be part of the OYHTB team actively helping with fundraising and promotion of the charity.