A brief History of Bhutanese Refugees
A film by Jogen Gazmere, Amnesty International (former) Prisoner of Conscience, on the struggle for human rights and political change in Bhutan, and the Bhutanese refugee crisis.
Jogen and his team has tried to include as much authentic information based on the real incidents that happened in Bhutan that led to the eviction of Southern Bhutanese (also called as Lotshampas)
Please check the video to the left for more details.
Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh is a locally formed not for Profit Community Organization incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania in 2012. It is popular by acronym BCAP. Bhutanese community is comprised of little over 5000 residents distributed in 10 different locations in Allegheny County. They comprised of first settlers coming directly to Pittsburgh under the Government’s refugee resettlement program and secondary migrants from other cities and states since 2008. Pittsburgh has been a welcoming city for Bhutanese refugees from other cities due to job prospects, low crime, affordable housing, good education and hospital care, above all the friendly people, climate and topography.
Bhutanese refugees came from Nepal after a long stay in the camp with a futile hope of returning to their country Bhutan. They were the victims of Royal Government of Bhutan under its ethnic cleansing policy and are largely Hindus and Buddhists with a small percentage of Christian population. After resettling in Pittsburgh since 2008, a group of like-minded volunteers started working together to help the fellow refuges in Pittsburgh to ease their pains of post-resettlement such as cultural shock, navigating resources and system, helping the families during death and other social events in the community. The volunteers worked as a Bhutanese Community without a registered name until June 2012. Being faced with difficulties of mobilizing resources for the community in terms of time commitment and finances, the group were advised by our mainstream American friends to incorporate the organization and start working in a more organized manner. The hesitation to incorporate the organization with a legal name, structure and by-laws was due to lack of confidence in being able to handle the organization with family and jobs of their own. However, the Almighty showed us the right way and some good and wonderful souls came our way to help us set up an organization in June 2012. With the help of the University of Pittsburgh through its Graduate School of Public and International Affairs under Prof. Kearns, the Non-profit clinical project of the two students came up with a recommendation for the community organization with mission, vision, structure and a strategy planning. Their project wrapped up with the setting up of a Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh. However, BCAP obtained its 501©3 status only in August 2014.
BCAP has successfully built its network of friends, partners and collaborators since its inception in 2012. The principal friend, partner and a collaborator of BCAP has been Jewish Family and Children’s Service with whom we developed a fiduciary relationship until August 2014 and JFCS still remains our role model and the principal collaborator in providing services to our population. Besides JFCS we have an excellent relationship with Department of Human Services which provides us the needed logistical and other support to our community organization without strings attached. That’s what makes us feel proud about our partners.