The hotel school, the second year

For 3 weeks I was at the Bongde institute for hospitality and tourism, our hotel school in Bhutan. The first batch of students is now almost finished with their internship and all of them can find work in the hotels is Bhutan; there is a great need for them.

Two new trainers from the Netherlands Niki and Floris are now taking over from Auke and Adrien and they will train the Bhutanese trainers and manage the insitute for the coming year.

I like to share with you the story of Shankar, Shankar a skinny boy from the south of Bhutan was a bit of a troublemaker when he came to our school. He was arrogant, tried to sneak out of classes and wanted to go to clubs at night. After he got strictly disciplined, he changed and became a good student. Now he is doing an internship in a Bhutanese 3 star plus hotel. I spoke to him, he told me because of his good training at our institute -he is now teaching all the staff in the hotel where he is doing the internship. His eyes were beaming and his dream is to become a butler. Such a nice story and also to see that the kids are becoming ambitious.

The second batch in our school is very talented. We have young cooks who learn fast and all are very eager to learn. I talked a lot to the students and many of them are from such poor backgrounds. Like Kinley, a beautiful young girl, her parents are farmers but they do not own land, they are sharecroppers, this means they have to work on the land of other people and they get 40% of the yield. They have a small home garden where they grow chilies and some plants that they can sell. Basically these people hardly have access to money and have to live from the land.For Kinley the education in our school can help her to create a better future and she can get out of the circle of poverty.

Bhutan is not the country of gross national happiness, when you hear the stories of the youth, they are heartbreaking: prostitution is on the rise and specially with western tourists, human trafficking (girls are sold into prostitution in India) and so many children are born without a father are not regarded Bhutanese citizen and therefore have no access to state sponsored schools and other facilities, there is alcoholism, domestic violence toward women and drug abuse. This is mainly due to lack of scope for the young people.

I want to end this blog with a positive note, Bhutan is a very beautiful country, the people are friendly and it has such a unique heritage, spirituality and culture. It’s a gem in the Himalaya, its not Shangri la: it’s a country in transition, one foot in the 19e century and the other in the 21-century. Bhutan needs time to find its way.

We want to thank the Nelis van Dril Foundation, The Triodos Foundation, The DT Family Foundation, EHL Smile Foundation and the Johanna Donk-Grote Stichting and many more for their generous contributions. We are very grateful.IMG_0905The trainers: Niki and Floris in the middle, with the Bhutanese trainers and Auke and Adrien








2016 started so well

The Bhutan Learning foundation is very grateful to the Buddha Raksha Foundation, Thailand, the DT Family Foundation, Thailand and to Urmatt Ltd.,Thailand for their partnership with us and their generous support.

Without your help we could not do what we do.

We give girls and boys a chance to make a career, who normally have no access to scholing due to several reasons. There are many young people like that in Bhutan.

The first batch of students graduated

Dear Friends,

I like to share with you the first year of our hotel school in Bhutan.

Adrien a Swiss alumni of the Lausanne Hotel school and Auke a Dutch alumni of The Hague Hotel school did an amazing job setting up the school, trained the 6 Bhutanese trainers who train our 37 students and managed the institute. They faced hardships and stayed positive and never lost their humor. The two guys are loved and respected by the students and the Paro community. Also our Bhutanese partner Mr. Tshewang Norbu and his wife Sonam, supported us all the way and did what they could to make things going.

Our hotel school is not “just” a hotel school. We give Bhutanese youth who do not have access to scholing (for various reasons – poverty, political or because of a handicap) a chance to build up a career that can sustain them and their family.

Our aim is to build a ” Bongde family” for the future, the alumni’s of our school will pay it forth and help others in the future, just like we helped them.

We already have a name in Bhutan, our school stands for quality. All our students have found an internship place in a 5 star hotel in Bhutan and India. Our institute  catered for the prime minister of Bhutan, the royal family and the head of the Buddhist sanga.

We like to expand to an extra restaurant in the centre of Paro town, this way we can train more students and have more revenue.

Please take a look at our facebook page:


If you want to support us, please contact

We thank all the people that have supported us. 11222082_1649063082037937_7636973331504857467_o   12186842_1646779298932982_732932121507889185_o   12183981_1642532862690959_3492307656633128756_o

We wish you all very happy christmas and a wonderful new year.

Rieki Crins and the board of the Bhutan Learning Exchange foundation.

All our student found an intership place in a 5 star hotel

We are very proud to announce that each one of our students found an internship place in the Meridien hotel Thimphu, Taj hotel Thimphu, Aman Kora ( 5 star plus)  and 9 students are going to Delhi, India to the 5 star Park Hotel.

This is what Mr. Bhuvan from the Park Hotel wrote after he visited our institute:

“We were impressed by your students and the great work your institute is doing in Paro by empowering the young generation.
We would send out the details of the internship in due course.Thank you and your team for the hospitality extended to us during our visit”

Thanking you Mr. BhuvanBhuvan G.M.
Professor & Principal
Apeejay Institute of Hospitality, Navi Mumbai, he is HR manager for the Park hotel Group.

Make their dream come true


USD 750,– will give one student a career for life.

Support a student for a career in hospitality. Donate USD 750.  We will give you an update of the student, how they are progressing. To learn more about Bongde Institute of Hospitality and Tourism visit our website and read recent article in Drukair Inflight Magazine

If you would like to make larger or smaller donation, we would also be very grateful.



Via Bank Transfer:

Stichting Learning Exchange
Watteaustraat 36
1077 ZM Amsterdam

Rabo Iban :
NL37RABO 0154429791
Contact Rieki Crins

How a dream came true

Here is an new article that is going to be published in the inflight magazine of Druk Air in Bhutan.


During the spring of 2009, I guided a group of wealthy Dutch people through Bhutan. As a cultural tour guide, I visit Bhutan once or twice a year with tourists. Doing this gives me opportunity to visit Bhutan, travel throughout the country, stay at as many different hotels, and share my knowledge on Bhutan that I have gained over the years with the visitors..

test 1

test 2

test 3

New Website for Bhutan Hotel School


, , ,

Last few months we worked hard at our hotel school in Bhutan and we are happy to announce our new website. For the next year ( 2016) we received more than 200 application from young people who want to be trained at our school. We only can enroll 34, the  quality training that we give is already known in Bhutan.

Bongde Institute of Hospitality and Tourism

We are excited to announce the launch of our new website! We hope that it will provide visitors with the necessary information on the hotel and institute.Please take a look around and you will find pictures and descriptions of what our hotel offers you from our amazing students. Browse through to get a clear understanding of how BIHT work and what courses we offer. Get up close and actually know the relationship between BIHT and students.

Support Bongde Institute-Adopt a Student, Book Hotel Stay

Our training hotel welcomes international and local guests. This unique hybrid business model provides a real-life learning experience for unemployed youth and the opportunity for guests to participate actively to make this institute self-reliant.
You can sponsor a student, give a donation or even better come visit and stay with us in Bhutan. More information: please contact