The Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) is a not for profit organization with 501(C)3 status comprised of vibrant and committed volunteers from the Bhutanese refugee population who have come together in a spirit of friendship and mutual assistance to address the needs of their community since 2010. Through 2010 and 2011 BCAP operated in an informal manner, and responded to needs and opportunities as was appropriate. In 2012, BCAP was registered in order to better serve their community and to preserve and promote Bhutanese culture. In 2014, BCAP obtained 501(C) 3 status and received a Federal grant from ORR to further enhance the ongoing activities and provide better services to the community as well as open the first office of its own.
BCAP provides its services to all the vulnerable families and individuals without regard to color, faith, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental condition, ethnic origins or nationalities.
Bhutan has long been touted as a Shangri-La, or heaven on earth, focused on promoting the happiness and well-being of its people through a concept known as Gross National Happiness. Unknown to rest of the world, however, Bhutan conducted a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign in the early 1990s, when more than 100,000 Lhotshampas, or ethnic Nepalis (primarily Hindus, with small numbers of Buddhists and Kiratis), were stripped of their citizenship and forced to leave the country under the “One Nation, One People” policy.
The policy was intended to forcibly homogenize the country to the majority Buddhist Drukpa culture that led to the expulsion of one-sixth of the nation’s population. According to Human Rights Watch, the ethnic cleansing campaign involved repressive tactics and violence, including harassment, arrests, torture, and the burning of ethnic Nepali homes.
108,000 Bhutanese refugees languished in UN refugee camps in Nepal for over 20 years before several countries, including the U.S., began resettling many of them in 2008. Nearly 24,000 refugees remain in the UN administered camps in Nepal, and there are an additional 10,000 – 20,000 unregistered refugees living outside the camps in Nepal and in India. Bhutan has thus far refused to allow any refugees to return.
BHUTANESE REFUGEES IN THE U.S.
More than 80,000 Bhutanese refugees have been resettled across the U.S. and constitute one of the largest refugee populations in the country. The resettled Bhutanese refugee community faces a number of challenges in their new home, including:
- Trouble obtaining employment or underemployment.
- Language barrier making it difficult to access various services.
- Difficulty retaining their cultural and religious traditions.
- High incidence of mental health issues.
Bhutanese Refugees in Pittsburgh
Approximately about 5000 Bhutanese have resettled in Pittsburgh region as a result of direct resettlement process through the agencies, including many others who moved to Pittsburgh from other cities and states, due to their family members, better job opportunities (entry level), landscape and the beauty of the city.
Castle Shannon, Carrick, Brentwood, Green Tree, Whitehall Place (formerly Prospect Park), Leland Point (Baldwin), Mt. Oliver, Bellevue, Sharpsburg, Sewickley.
Our teams consist of seven Board of Directors, Board Members, Executives including President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Youth Coordinator, Cultural Coordinator, Sports committee, Office staff, Students Group, Youth Groups, Volunteers and Advisors from outside of the community. Details of the organization structure can be found at www.bcap.us
BCAP is grounded in the philosophy of volunteerism. BCAP has many volunteers working tirelessly as well as selflessly both from within and outside of the community. Our leadership style is collective and we practice role flexibility. The interested volunteer can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org