Bhutan, the last SHANGRI-LA, isolated buddhist kingdom, sandwiched between two giant supreme powers; China in the north and India in south is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi-religious country. It's geographical location is 27' atitude and 30' longitude. It has 47,000 sq. km of area and approximately 716,896 population. The population comprises of ethnic groups such as Ngalong, the ruling elite, sarchop, Lhotshampa(Southern Bhutanese people) and other tribal and aboriginal people.
In the Years 1980s, in order to strengthen Bhutan's identity as a nation, the "one nation, one people" campaign was started to integrate the peripheral ethnic and cultural groups into mainstream. Dzongkha language, which is spoken by handfull people of Drukpa, was enforced to Nepalese society, around the same time, the first nationwide census in Bhutan's history revealed a large population of inhabitants of Nepali origin in Southern Bhutan. The government considered these people to be illegal immigrants. As such, in 1991 over one sixth of Bhutan's people have sought asylum in Nepal, India and other countries around the world.They were forced to leave the country.
A number of Southern Bhutanese, fled to Nepal where they were admitted into camp run by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR), while continuous attempts have been made between the governments of Bhutan and Nepal to resolve this issue, the number of people claiming to be "Bhutanese refugees" swelled to over 107,000. But the attempts of Governments failed time and again. The Bhutanese refugees first entered Nepal at the end of 1990. Temporary camps were established on the banks of the river Mai in miserable condition with rife disease and squalor.
UNHCR began providing ad-choc assistance to Bhutanese asylum seekers in February 1991. By September 1991, there were approximately 5,000 refugees when His Majesty’s Government of Nepal (HMG-N) formally requested UNHCR to co-ordinate all emergency assistance for the Bhutanese refugees. UNHCR, the World Food Program (WFP) and several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) launched a major program in the early part of 1992. WFP, UNHCR and partners provide food, water, shelter, health, education(Caritas Nepal), protection and other ‘non-food’ items. The established health and nutrition indicators suggest that the assistance has been adequate and, in fact, exceeds the national standards for Nepali citizens. Later on, the refugees were relocated into seven different camps throughout the Jhapa and Morang districts of the eastern Nepal (sub tropical lowlands), adjoining the foothills of the Himalayas.
The climate is hot and humid, with heavy rains in June and July. In spring, the mountain melt water means that flooding is common. The structural layout in each camp was very dense, with shelters often under one meter apart. Fires occurred frequently and was very destructive. If some of the minor disputes occurred within the refugee population then camp management committees undertake and resolve the problem.
By these time the refugees have spent their miserable life in the refugee camp for more than seventeen years hoping to go back to their country. But their hope became hope only.
In 2007, as a final attempt to resolve the issue, the US government announced that around 60,000 of these people claiming to be "Bhutanese refugees" would be settled in the US as a third country settlement program. Since 2008 a resettlement process had been started and then thousands of Bhutanese refugees from the camps in Nepal being re-settled primarily in the USA ,Canada, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Netherlands and Norway.
Since 2008, Bhutanese refugee started to resettle in Cincinnati Ohio under the care of Catholic Charities S. W. Ohio.
With the following far sighted, committed and dedicated volunteers from various sectors of the community, BCC was established in the long term interest of the Bhutanese people living in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1. Bal Poudyel
2. Lal Moktan
3. Indra Tamang
4. Bhim Dulal
5. Kopila Oli
6. Ghana Neopaney
7. Bishnu Phuyal
8. Som Sapkota
9. Devi Dahal
The above far sighted founding members took the initiatives in the interest of the Bhutanese People resettled in the Cincinnati, Ohio since 2008, in order to serve to the aspirations of the community for their social and humanitarian rights, and help secure general protection as well as preserve and promote the diversity of our rich languages, cultures, races, religions, and the greater values of our ethnicity as a whole.
Considering the resettlement of Bhutanese Refugees since 2008, their continuous arrival in Cincinnati Ohio and having had hardships of socio-cultural and economical transition to the completely new environment of host locality.
Recalling the past of Bhutanese Refugees being politically, culturally and economically deprived in Bhutan the country of origin, and had undergone worst socio-economic stages of life in Refugee camps, Nepal for more than twenty years,
Acknowledging that the Bhutanese community comprises of distinctly rich and diverse culture, tradition, religion, languages and literature, and their preservation as our identification as ‘Bhutanese American.
Realizing the need of common platform for all Bhutanese living in Cincinnati to work united, address their issues, advocate their basic needs in transition period of resettlement in future.
Inspired by the dedication and the humanitarian services rendered by volunteers, non-governmental and governmental agencies to Bhutanese Community in resettlement process in Cincinnati.
Believing that the recognition, protection and promotion of socio-cultural and economic development of ethnic Bhutanese people contribute to sustainable development of the community and the mainstream society of the Nation as a whole.
Aiming to inculcate a spirit of brotherhood, better understanding, mutual respect, tolerance and unity amongst the community members and other co-existing communities.
Desiring to build a good and just Bhutanese Community by providing support to the needy families in the sector of education, employment, health and legal procedures in the State of Ohio, and organizing training, seminars, workshops on capacity building, leadership, leadership, gender equality and tolerance on diverse culture and religion irrespective of ethnicity, descent, race, color, caste and gender.
Reaffirming the good faith in human rights, dignity and equality of all members of Bhutanese Community and other communities is the basic foundation of co-existence and peace.
Therefore, we all the Bhutanese People resettled in Cincinnati, hereby PROCLAIM “BHUTANESE COMMUNITY OF CINCINNATI”, abbreviated as BCC for the achievement and accomplishment of its common and universal goal , on the first day of the fourth week of September 2012.
The vision of the BCC is to build Bhutanese community as a single family of all the Bhutanese People resettled in the Cincinnati, Ohio as an integral community organization to achieve the objectives of preserving the distinctly rich cultural heritage, language and indigenous norms and life styles of the Bhutanese community.
The official mission statement of the BCC is to preserve and promote the diversities in ethnic values of our Cultures, Languages, Religions and Literatures and ensure to build up an excellent future of the Bhutanese Americans in Cincinnati through the networking with the local, regional and national community organizations.
Aims and Objectives:
The Bhutanese population coming to the state of Ohio at Cincinnati for resettlement and those already resettled are comprised of diverse nature of life and community given various factors of sufferings they have gone through for the last 20 years in the camps as asylum seekers in Nepal and suppressed and oppressed life back in the country of origin in Bhutan before entering into Nepal. The USA being the developed nation of freedom has opened multiples of opportunities both from the point of social, political and humanitarian factors, which we wish to harvest for the benefit of the community both resettled and the new arrivals.
There is every chance of the people being misled and misguided in this country of high information technology and networking. It is in this context, the BCC will be able to serve to their needs in terms of orientation for getting peacefully resettled, enter into employment, earn for a living, educate their children in a proper school, help support in terms of medical treatment, social awareness and getting integrated to new life in the locality through gradual process.
While embracing the high technology modern life, there is also equal danger of forgetting our own etiquette, traditions, cultures, religions, languages and other serene way of life, which comes from the rich values of our ancestors. Hence, the BCC shall make all out efforts to preserve and promote the rich values of Religion, Culture, language and Literature of all the Bhutanese people irrespective of caste, creed and racialism.
The BCC shall make all out efforts to explore every possibilities to empower the community through educational, vocational and training programs by actively participating in the sports and games, and physically developing a healthy community that shall be enterprising and ready to become successful entrepreneurs in various aspects of opportunities available in this vast land of freedom and entrepreneurship.
The BCC shall build itself up to be a strong and trustworthy guardian of the community through mobilization funding by way of minimum monthly contribution from every interested community member employed in any part of Cincinnati and elsewhere outside the state.
The BCC shall look after the welfare of the needy families and individuals on the basis of recommendations from the BCC committees, which shall be duly verified and approved by the Board.
The BCC shall make efforts to preserve and promote respective Religion, Culture, Language and Literature of all the Bhutanese people
It shall ensure to build up close relationship with the American natives in Cincinnati, Ohio through every available network of local, regional and national Community organization.
It shall promote peace, unity and development among all Bhutanese community of all categories and family members living in the Cincinnati.
It shall improve overall communication etiquettes and intra-relationships among its members through community programs such as recreational participation of the community members in different activities, which shall be the basis of the development of this community for a harmonious coexistence among the diverse community members.
The BCC shall also look after other humanitarian issues including involvement in the accident cases, injuries from different aspects of involvements that relates to socio-economic pursuance and in the ritual and death rites performances usually concerning Bhutanese society.
The BCC shall emphasize on various programs for its members in terms of cultural presentations; awareness workshops and interaction programs among its members.
The BCC will organize various cultural programs and performances with a view to safe guard the distinct culture of the respective ethnicity in the Bhutanese community.
The BCC shall make arrangements to teach English as Second Language (ESL) and other native Bhutanese Languages in Cincinnati. BCC also shall start citizenship naturalization classes for the prospective candidates in the recent future.
The BCC shall ensure to provide high quality services to all BCC Members in Cincinnati in the areas of cultural needs, religious ceremonies in the community, development of games and sports, literature development and for the preservation of our rich culture.
The BCC shall, however, not provide its services to non-BCC members and individuals although they are resettled Bhutanese living at Cincinnati, Ohio.
The BCC shall make all out efforts to provide health, education and other necessary services to the needy members based on the urgency and priority to be assessed by designated committee members
from time to times.
The BCC shall ensure to provide awareness programmed to its community regarding emergency call 911, Police, fire, natural hazards, environmental cleanness, health and hygiene and to help to make greater Cincinnati better.
Any other issues that are not included herein above, but deemed necessary for consideration by the board from time to time, shall be considered as the need of the community as a whole.