Disabled People’s Organization (DPO), erstwhile Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan (DPAB), was founded by a group of persons with disabilities to recognize the voice of our own. It is legally registered with the Civil Society Organizations Authority (CSOA) on 26th November 2010 under the Royal Patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Namgyal Wangchuck, the XXVIth Paro Penlop. With the vision to be ‘an inclusive society that recognizes, respects and promotes the rights and needs of all persons with disabilities in Bhutan,’ DPO aspires to ‘promote the physical, psychological, and socio-economic well-being of persons with disabilities through inclusion and empowerment.’
The organization is governed by a Board of Trustees, whose members are elected from among members of the organization for a fixed term of office. DPO has seven Board members and fifteen Technical Members. There are twenty-five Focal Persons (DT Secretaries in Dzongkhags) who support DPO with the data update of persons with disabilities of their respective districts, supporting coordination and communication at the Dzongkhag level whenever needed.
In the management team, there are six staff, who oversee the day-to-day functions of the organization. Disabled People’s Organization is the only DPO in the country with persons with disabilities playing an active role as Board Members, Technical Members, and the Management Team. The Association’s functioning is guided by its charter and the Articles of Association, as per the requirement of the Civil Society Organization Act 2007. Financial transactions and performance of the Association are subject to external auditing and scrutiny by the board and donors.
The objectives of DPO are to:
Function as a platform to represent all persons with disabilities in policy formulation, legislation, and programs that impact the lives of persons with disabilities.
Raise awareness and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities in Bhutan.
Create opportunities for persons with disabilities to realize the potentials and abilities to lead a meaningful life.
Enhance the capacity of persons with disabilities through life-long learning.
Improve the quality of life and living conditions of persons with disabilities.
Empower persons with disabilities through employment, effective participation, and decision-making and
Facilitate communication, coordination, and collaboration with relevant organizations within and outside the country.
As the central organization between the Government and beneficiaries at large, DPO is creating opportunities for persons with disabilities by raising our own voices and at the same time lobbying with the government for support. Ever since its inception, the DPO’s main task has been to educate the general populace about the rights of persons with disabilities and to lobby with the government of the day for support to beneficiaries. Further, DPO’s significant contribution has been in alleviating many of the persons with disabilities from poverty to dignity through skill-based programs and education.