Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nelson new home for Bhutanese refugee

The Nelson Mail

Nelson is to further increase its ethnic diversity with the arrival next month of four families from the small South Asian nation of Bhutan.

They are part of an allotment of 27 refugees arriving in the region as part of the annual quota.

Refugee Services Aotearoa New Zealand coordinator Gabrielle Humphreys said refugees from Bhutan had been settled in Christchurch and Palmerston North previously.

The new arrivals are from the ethnic Nepali community who were living in the southern Lhotshampa region of Bhutan.

In the early 1990s the Government began putting pressure on the group to assimilate into Bhutanese culture.

Instead of conforming many fled to Nepal, where they were forced to live in camps and were denied property or citizenship rights.

They are currently at the Mangere Resettlement Centre and will arrive in Nelson on April 24.

Ms Humphreys said two of the families were related.

Another one included a grandfather who was an orange farmer, and his daughter who taught accountancy.

She said Bhutanese valued education and were "respectfully assertive".

After settling into their homes the adults would attend English language classes at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, and the children would attend Victory Primary School, Nelson College or Nelson College for Girls.

Ms Humphreys said she thought there may be one person of Bhutanese origin living in Nelson, but these would be the first refugees from there to be settled here.

There would also be some more Chin people from Burma arriving, most of whom already had family in Nelson.

Ms Humphreys said donations of blankets and duvets for the new arrivals would be appreciated.

1 comment:

Bradly Jones said...

Great posts on this blog. I'm on my way to Dhaka and will be needing all the information i can get because I will be staying shortly in Bhutan, I need to be able to gather knowledge as well as pictures, I adore Buddhism as well. Thanks for sharing. Your article was a real brain massage.



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