Wednesday, January 28, 2009

B A C C taking care Bhutanese Refugees in Bay Area.

By Dhurva Thapa

Bhutanese American Community Center is one of the popular community organizations of Bay area among the Nepalese community living here. The organization has been performing many community activities since its inception. As a result the numbers of Bhutanese Refugees are rapidly increasing in Bay area. Recently according to the US Policy sixty thousand of Bhutanese refugees are likely to come for the permanent settlement as resettlement program and their dreams are coming out of the Refugee camps, where they spent more than 15 years losing all their hopes and desires. Just couple of years back it was believed as the story of forgotten people. But now they are highlighted all over the world as a new comer for resettlement program. Beside US six other nations Australia, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand and Denmark -- have offered to resettle 10,000 each. The United Nations describes this resettlement program is one of the largest resettlement program of all time in the modern history of mankind.

According to President of BACC Mr. Bir Thapa they are resettled in California, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Syracuse, New York; St. Louis, Missouri and various other cities and states of US. And bay area has become one of the most desirable destinations for the Bhutanese refugees. As a matter of fact they are feeling more comfortable with the BACC because it is the organization formed by Bhutanese community who came half a decade earlier or even more. And also they are organizing many fund raising to cultural programs and highlighted in local and international online Medias.

For example, Just last month BACC organized a grand Dashain and Welcome Party at one of the local restaurants of Berkeley where more than 150 Bhutanese refugees attended with great festive mood and celebrated it in their own traditional way with great feast and festivals with dancing and chanting. Most of the new faces were seen in the party and they were all excited to be the part of this country, leaving most tragic and desire life in seven U.N. camps in southeastern Nepal -- their home for the past 17 years. They were excited as well as stunt to see the life and development of US because finally they have bright path and hopes with full of light in front of them and they are ready to explore all the possibilities in the land of opportunity.

AS a result they are ready to explore all the possibilities for their families and whole community members with the benefits they can take from the country. They are initiated to work closely with government and Non Profit organizations to provide all the facilities they are likely to get under the refugee resettlement program.

On November 14th the center is teamed up to fight with cold and flu in International Boulevard, Oakland to provide flu vaccination with the slogan lets fight flu together. They are teamed up to help keep communities healthy, children and teachers in school, and parents at work this influenza season. The program was sponsored by Dept. of Health Alameda Country and jointly helped by and Street level Health Project. Medical Director Dr. William Walling and Kathy Ahoy, Public Health Nurse of Alameda County, co-founded this thriving health service to the homeless, the uninsured and low income population of Oakland in 2000. She came to the USA as a refugee/immigrant from India and speaks Nepali, Hindi and some Chinese. Born in Kalimpong a popular hill station of North Bengal, India, Beside them there were Ashish Hada President of and his friends who support to happen this program in Oakland among the Bhutanese Nepali Community.

The Program was started sharp at ten in the morning and continued till 1:30 Pm and more than hundred and thirty immigrant got their flu shot. Ratna Gurung,Lila, Pushpa Rai, Bed Timsina were quite excited to get their shot as they were in the front line. And Dr. Walling was asking them in Nepali language if they are allergic to Eggs. He is fluent in Nepali and actively encouraging all of them to get their shot. The flu shot was followed by formal program organized by BACC and light refreshment was served to all the community members.

Many people think influenza, or "the flu," is just a bad cold. However, it can be a serious condition that can lead to hospitalization or even death. It is said that "Each year, on average in the United States, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized, and approximately 36,000 people die from influenza and its complications. Further, each year, students miss an average of about 38 million school days due to influenza, and parents miss more than 10 million work days caring for these sick youngsters."

Said Ananata Gurung announced in his welcome and introduction speech that BCCA is committed to helping keep children, parents, and community members healthy this influenza seasons and always ready to help new comers to resettle here in bay area.". He added "we are trying our best to keep our community well informed and educate them to cope with the new environment and life style of this country and that´s why we are here". On site one of the social worked added. "Today we are expecting to vaccinate at least two hundred people" and the lines of folks show that they are saying the truth. The program is sponsored by Alameda County Public Health Department and hosted by BACC.

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