SJI was founded in March 2010 by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. SJI is a project of the Lhomon Society, a registered Civil Society Organization (CSO) in Bhutan. It is a community-based effort to put Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Development philosophy into action on the ground and at a grassroots level, as a model for the rest of the country.
What does GNH in action mean?
We understand it to mean greater self-reliance, with communities taking responsible initiatives to improve their well-being, standing confidently on their own feet, and reducing dependence on government and foreign aid. This is core to the “good governance” pillar of Gross National Happiness, and in addition it furthers the building of democratic culture in Bhutan’s new democracy, where citizens are not yet used to active community participation. SJI transmits the message that democracy means more than just voting once every few years.
SJI also furthers the other pillars of Gross National Happiness, including deep care for the natural environment, promotion of organic farming, and a zero-waste culture; profound respect for and promotion of Bhutan’s ancient wisdom traditions, and a marked improvement in the living standards of the poor in particular. Youth outreach programs are designed to provide opportunities for local youth, and thereby to help stem the tide of rural-urban migration.