The welcoming city of Pittsburgh received its first refugees from Bhutan in April 2008. The number increased by hundreds and thousands in subsequent years. The topography, friendly neighborhood, job opportunities, and affordable housing attracted many additional Bhutanese refugees resettled in other states and cities to migrate to Pittsburgh as well. However, the vast transition to a new country– new lifestyles, new rules and regulations to cope with, language, and cultural shock- posed challenges for many individuals. Cases of mental health problems began to rise. Thus, some like-minded volunteers started meeting, discussing and finding ways to alleviate post-resettlement sufferings of the community members.
During these meetings, the need for a community organization was identified. Thus, the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2012 with the mission of ensuring a “high quality of life for all members of the Bhutanese community in Pittsburgh and to support their integration into American society through culturally-informed services and activities.” The organization became a registered 501(c)(3) in 2014.
BCAP now has its own rented office, a team of paid staff and runs more than a dozen projects benefiting women, children, and seniors. It has organized youth and students’ group to engage young people in the areas of sports, cultural activities, and to manage community activities.
BCAP is an open and inclusive organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating our Bhutanese and ethnic Nepali culture and traditions, as well as strengthening the community and its members. Our staff and volunteers are committed to helping the most vulnerable in the community overcome daily challenges as they navigate their new life in America, so that they may become active and productive citizens.
BCAP is fortunate to have highly resourceful, friendly and dedicated professionals from the local community as its valued advisers and board members. It has greatly increased our presence in the region as a ‘voice of the community’ and helped develop connections with local resources, service providers and other communities in Allegheny County.
I find myself privileged to be serving this community in an effort to make a difference in the lives of my fellow community members, working alongside a team of highly determined and selfless volunteers, board members and staff. The sense of belonging, belief in ‘unity in diversity,’ and spirit of teamwork has always been the guiding principle of BCAP
We welcome and invite any local foundations, agencies or community organizations to partner with BCAP.