During the Bhutan leg of the #xBhpDominarGreatAsianOdyssey, we met the BDMC (Bhutan Dragons Motorcycle Club). They are, in essence, a non-profitable organisation with 100% of its proceeds contributed towards charitable purposes. We talked to them to get to know the club more and to know more about the motorcycling culture of Bhutan.
Here’s an excerpt from that conversation:
xBhp: What is BDMC?
BDMC means Bhutan Dragons Motorcycle Club.
xBhp: When was it formed?
It was formed on October 17th 2008.
xBhp: How did it start?
It started off over a cup of tea when 3 childhood friends who had been riding since they were teenagers promptly decided to form the club! They decided to form the club to rekindle their love and passion for riding. They then decided to take it one step further and established it as a charity club.
xBhp: What is the purpose or mission of the club?
The club was formed as a charity club and all official club rides are charity rides. The club aims to spread the love of peace, compassion and friendship to all through biking; using the club as a forum to help inspire and motivate the youth of our country and collecting funds to help the needy and deprived people of our beloved country. The club’s motto is “Love to Ride – Ride to Love”.
xBhp: Are you a registered NGO?
No, we are not and haven’t considered being one although we have the highest respect for all CSOs and NGOs here in Bhutan. We want to presently maintain our status as a private club comprising of members who all share a common passion for riding and helping the disadvantaged people all over the country. It is through our ‘non-registered’ club that we want to encourage and motivate our fellow citizens to also help the less fortunate wherever they may be or come from, in any small form or way. We want to instil in private individuals and groups the spirit and love of charity.
xBhp: How many members does the club have?
The club currently has 42 full members, 8 prospects and 12 honorary members. We also have coordinators, supporters and friends all across the country.
xBhp: How does one become a member of the club?
Members must: i) have a charitable heart for helping the less fortunate, ii) own a motorcycle and have a strong passion for riding, iii) must be 30 years and older and iv) should have participated in a minimum of 3 official charity rides with the club.
xBhp: Are there strict rules in the club for members?
Yes, our club has a charter with various rules and regulations and a strict code of conduct for all members. For example, the club is totally against drug abuse. Drinking and riding is also not permitted. In addition, members that have been criminally charged for various offences contravening the laws of the kingdom will be automatically suspended from the club.
xBhp: Who is the club president and who are its founding members?
Thinley Wangchuk Dorji is the president of the club. Founding members are, Chimi Dorji Norbu, Tshering Tashi, Namda Tenzing, Sonam Dechen and Thinley Wangchuk Dorji.
xBhp – Does the club have paid employees and an office with operational costs?
No, the club is a 100% charity club and the entirety of its proceeds goes towards charity.
xBhp: How many charities has the club done till date?
The club has done 39 charities till date.
xBhp: Where in Bhutan have you undertaken those?
The club till date has covered all of the country’s 20 Dzongkhags, with the prime focus being mainly in the far-flung and remote corners of Bhutan.
xBhp: Has the club done any notable charities till date?
Yes, the club has done several notable charities. As a matter of fact, every charity has been unique and special in so many ways.
xBhp: How does the club fund itself?
Funds are raised from membership fees, members and friends from abroad, contributions from corporate and business houses and private individual contributions.
xBhp: What are the obstacles the club faces?
None so far, apart from readily available funds, the weather and bike breakdowns from time to time!
xBhp: Where do you see the club 10 years from now?
As long as the club remains strong and committed to its cause and members continue to grow and support the club wholeheartedly, I0 years from now should see the club having further grown in wisdom, size and stature with many more charities under its belt!
xBhp: Can you please tell us a bit about the Club’s affiliation with Tarayana Foundation?
The Club was formally affiliated with the Tarayana Foundation (www.tarayanafoundation.org) on 02 August 2016 by Her Majesty The Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. The club will now be focussing all its strengths and resources in helping Tarayana in various capacities. The President of the club was also inducted by Her Majesty into the Tarayana Board along with two members into the executive committee. We are now fondly known as the ‘Tarayana Dragons’.
xBhp: Can you tell us how you have contributed to Tarayana Foundation as of date?
We have collected funds to the tune of Nu. 4.10 million for the Tarayana office vertical extension construction project. We have also raised Nu. 11.3 million towards the Tarayana ‘build a home’ initiative with support from friends in Thailand.
About Bhutan Dragons Motorcycle Club – BDMC
Motto – “Love to Ride – Ride to Love”
The Bhutan Dragons Motorcycle Club (BDMC) was founded on the 17th of October 2008 on the foundation of the values of friendship, the core essence of Buddhism and the mutual love of motorcycles. The club is, in essence, a non-profitable organisation with 100% of its proceeds contributed towards charitable purposes. None of the office-bearers in the club are paid any salary nor receive any perks, allowances and incentives.
To create chapters of bike lovers all across the country’s 20 Dzongkhags and in:
- spreading the love of peace, compassion and friendship to all through biking;
- using the club as a forum to help inspire and motivate the youth of our country;
- collecting funds to help the needy and disadvantaged people of our country.
- To honour and respect all members of the club. The members must support and help each other, protect the club’s interest at all times, and respect the wishes of the ‘founding committee’.
- To create a fund with the aim of making positive contributions towards the disadvantaged and needy people of Bhutan;
- To pay a token annual membership fee as decided by the ‘founding committee’;
- To make it a duty of the founding committee to organise periodic charity rides. It is the responsibility of the president to ensure the safety of the riders on rides and to spread the message of safe and responsible riding;
- To function in a transparent, efficient and effective manner;
- To screen all members before admitting them as full members into the club;
- To conduct initiation rites for new members;
- To ensure that members respect the ‘club-patch’ at all times. Club patch can only be worn on official charity rides and on the wishes of the founding members;
- To affiliate with clubs in other countries;
- To remove any unworthy members in the club without any fear or prejudice;
- To remove members found consuming or dealing in any form of banned substances deemed illegal by law;
- To use the club seal judiciously for all club correspondence;
- Agrees that October 17th shall be the Club’s ‘Foundation Day’;
- To allow membership to all sexes without any gender discrimination;
- To encourage bikers from all nationalities to become members of the club;
- To maintain an office with staff to handle the various affairs of the club;
- To maintain an official website/blog site to reach out to its audience through the media;
- To be an apolitical body.
The Founding Committee
- Thinley Wangchuk Dorji – President
- Chimi Dorji Norbu
- Tshering Tashi
- Sonam Dechen