USA by ashrafp


      A New Beginning – Bhutanese Resettlement Project

Ashraya means shelter, support, a helping hand for someone to get back on his feet. It
is a project of VHP of America created to welcome the Bhutanese families that have
recently immigrated to the United States. The goal is to support them in their new
beginning as well as empower them in becoming self sufficient and productive members
of our American community.

Moved from Place to Place but No Where to Go

In late 1980's at least 120,000
Southern Bhutanese people were
expelled from their country solely
because of their original ethnicity and
religion. These predominantly Hindu
Nepalese refugees have been living in
refugee camps provided by the United
Nations Human Rights Council for the
past twenty years and now the
United States government has
extended a hand by offering to
resettle around 60,000 of these
people, specifically those from
camps in Nepal.

The government has granted them immigration visas as well as permission to work. For
their initial three months in this country, the Bhutanese families will receive board and
                                          lodging also provided by the government. Over
                                          the next five years, however, several agencies
                                          have the primary task of working with these
                                          people including:

                                               Catholic Charities
                                               IRC (International Rescue Committee)
                                               Lutheran Services
                                               World Relief
                                               RRISA     (Refugee    Resettlement   &
                                                Immigration Services of Atlanta)

The Hebrew Immigration Aid Society and Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services will provide
additional assistance.

Their Background

Opportunities in the camps of Nepal were limited where 10-15% of the refugees were
farmers and vocational pursuits generally included social workers, teachers, tailors and

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       A New Beginning – Bhutanese Resettlement Project

weavers. The training for occupations in general was also inadequate. The overall
demographics of the people are as follows:

      50.7% Male, 49.3% Female
      8% are/were under 5 years old
      30% 5-17 years old
      56% 18-59 years old
      6% 60 years and older

      95% are Lhotshampa or Southern Bhutanese.
      Hindu–largest group (60-70%)
      Buddhists–(20-25%)
      Kirat (indigenous)-(5-8%)
      Christians–(2-3%)

      99% of the population speak Nepali
      35% of the population speak some English
      40% of the population are students
      Education is to grade 10 in the camps (Nepali
      Some students attend Nepali schools beyond the primary level
      A few have attended university level in India and speak English
      25-30% have no education

Rallying for Support

The Hindu American community is taking action for the sake of these peaceful and
humble families by providing support from basic necessities to community mechanisms:

      Basic needs (Food, Lodging, Clothing, and Transportation)
      Spiritual and Hindu religious needs (Providing pooja items)
      Social needs – counseling, mentoring
      Jobs/Financial needs-(Long term empowerment)

                                                 Driving lessons, English tutoring,
                                                 healthcare education, and stress-relief
                                                 services are what we are providing
                                                 now. But as this mammoth task of
                                                 relieving immediate financial and
                                                 economical circumstances cannot be
                                                 fulfilled without the help from the
                                                 entire community, the Vishwa Hindu
                                                 Parishad of America is asking for
                                                 donations of both funds and time.

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       A New Beginning – Bhutanese Resettlement Project

Who does this entire community include? We are actively working to engage other
organizations such as BAPS, ISKCON, various Hindu mandirs, and Hindu organizations.
Yet the individuals of our community hold the most potential.

The Needs


      Cash contributions: for the payment of rent and utilities and purchase of
       emergency essentials. Click here to Donate NOW!
      Basics: Clothing, gift cards, blankets, and food
      Working household items: TVs, DVDs, Computers, Vacuum Cleaners, Microwave
       ovens, blenders. We are not in a position to accept furniture, unless it can be
       delivered by the donor to a family.
      Transportation: to the mandir, hospital, and grocery store
      Books: Children books (including Hindi books)
      Religious: Bhagwan Ji photos, Pooja Samigri

   Short Term

      Low skilled employment: for the majority who are not proficient in English. With
       training they will be good workers.
      Jobs: Skills inventory - Help with resume
      Working, reliable, used cars/vans/trucks: A charitable donation to help in regular
      Counseling: to ease widespread stress, especially among the elderly, caused by
       physical and emotional trauma and feelings of displacement. Those proficient in
       Hindi or Nepalese would be most appreciated.
      Mentoring: to provide guidance to young adults and tutor English

   Long Term

      Creation of an emergency fund
      Education: Children's and young adults’ education
      Lodging After the 3 Months
      Jobs: extended by business owners of motels, gas stations, grocery stores, dry
       cleaners or possibly as nannies
      English language skills
      Negotiation with Government agencies and Charies to secure a future of funds
       and jobs.
      Transportation

Certainly, many of these needs overlap, therefore, one donation can go a long way.

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       A New Beginning – Bhutanese Resettlement Project

How Can You Help

Donations, adopting families, driving others to hospitals and stores, tutoring, and simply
caring can lead to the fulfillment of our goal and the enrichment of many broken lives.
You can help in so many ways:

      Donate: to the emergency fund Click here to Donate NOW!
      Coordinate: Clothing, Food Drives, Heath fairs, Satsangs, Job Fairs.
      Volunteer time: Big brother/Big sister. Provide rides, transportation. People who
       can teach driving are also needed.
      Adopt a family: work with one or more families; take them shopping, to doctor's
       appointments and be generally supportive of their needs.
      Tutoring: We need teachers or others willing to teach adults and children,
       English, Math, Science and Chemistry.
      Family counseling: Help provide support and guidance to families.
      Mentoring: for youth.

         What each VHPA Chapter Needs To Do
A. Employment Inventory of current Bhutanese cohort in your Metro Area

      Cohorts can be divided into the following categories:
          o Educated Seeking Employment
                  Vocational skills - carpentry, masonry, etc.
                  High School - 10th SLC
                  High School - 12th grade
                  College (1 or 2 yrs)
                  Nursing (1 person)
                  Bachelor degrees (3 year) in Science, Arts, and Business
                  Masters degrees
                  Unknown Education- less than high school /some seeking
          o Enrolled Students in Grade School
          o Some of them are quite talented:
                  Excellent knitting skills - possible business opportunity
                  Excellent weaving, tapestry making
                  Cooking - work in homes as cooks, or food catering business
                  Excellent painters
                  Nanny - Household help

B. Employment Related Activities: Successes and Concerns

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       A New Beginning – Bhutanese Resettlement Project

      RESUMES: VHPA volunteers need to work with the Bhutanese to help them put
       together resumes.
      TRAINING: Recruit local Business Owners – like motel owner to train people in
       housekeeping services (vaccum cleaner, use of chemicals, safety, etc.)
      Organize a Job Fair inviting Asian-Indian Businesses to employ qualified
      Possibilities:
           o Lawn mowing
           o Snow plowing
           o Restaurants - kitchen help, dishwashing, waiter
           o Labor - helpers

C. Project Vahan

      Find car donors for Home Cleaning Services project. If implemented this project
       would involve a trained professional cleaning crew of 2-4 Bhutanese persons
       visiting homes to clean (one of them would be the driver). Also find Indian
       families who would express interest in getting their homes cleaned - rates of $18-
       $20/hour should be expected. This will be a Bhutanese owned small business.
      An attorney should be consulted to affirm for transferring the automobile from
       donor to VHPA and from VHPA to a Bhutanese person.

D. Project Ride Service

      Contract with a local Bus/Van agency to provide rides for the families once or
       twice a week. The families can avail this ride service to go shopping, visit the
       temple or go to for other errands. The funds to provide this ride service will be
       generated by the local chapter.

E. Catholic Charities Workshop- Volunteer/Mentor Training at Local Temple

Organize a "Volunteer/Mentor Training Workshop." in partnership with Catholic
Charities. The workshop should provide a comprehensive look at where the Refugees
originated, their journey into the US, and services provided by Catholic charities and
procedures for becoming a Volunteer/Mentor for a Bhutanese family thru Catholic
Charities. We must have clear understanding with the Catholic Charities that their work
with the refugees does not include any desire for proselytization into Catholicism.

We must keep in mind few hard facts:

      Refugee resettlement agreements take decades before the inflow begins.
       Governments negotiate if Refugees first can be sent back to their country of origin
       (rare), resettled in the country they have fled to (likely) and if the first two do not

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       A New Beginning – Bhutanese Resettlement Project

       work, then resettled into a different country - such as US, UK, Canada, Australia,
       Norway/Sweden, etc. Generally 2% of the World's refugees get resettled in other
       countries such as what is happening with Bhutanese.
      60,000 Bhutanese Refugees from UNHCR camps in Eastern Nepal will be
       resettled in the US over the next five years (remaining 49,000 will be resettled
       in Canada, UK, Australia, etc.). [Bhutanese Refugees were victims of religious
       persecution- they were Hindus in a Buddhist land/ethnic cleansing- they were
       Nepali speaking in Bhutan].
      US Dept of State contracts 10 recognized voluntary agencies for Refugee
       Admissions Reception and Placement Program in FY2008 :Church World
       Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Ethiopian Community Development
       Council, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services,
       International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service,
       United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (UCCB), U.S. Committee for
       Refugees and Immigrants, World Relief (no Hindu organization represented -
       Bhutanese refugees are Hindus)

      Upon arrival the Refugees are given basic services - such as health screening,
       transportation, child school enrollment, employment help - through contracted
       sub-units of the voluntary agencies (Catholic Charities subcontracted by UCCB in

F. Adopt a Family

      A local family "adopts" a Bhutanese family to serve as their guide and supporter.
       This enables one on one contact at a more personal level. The local family can
       invite them over, take them around the town, teach them basic survival skills in
       this country, take them to a movie and take them to the beach. Help them as

G. Vocational Training Program

      Contract with a local community college or similar educational agencies to
       provide targeted training programs for those Bhutanese who are interested and
       willing to improve their vocation skills to improve their employment potential.
       The funds raised by the local chapter provide the stipend for the participants in
       this program.

H. Temple Outreach Programs

      Work with the local temples to create outreach programs designed to serve the
       spiritual and social needs of the Bhutanese families.

I. Inquire with Bhutanese Family about any other needs they may have.

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       A New Beginning – Bhutanese Resettlement Project

                     HELP, HELP, HELP- NOW!
Generously donate to the emergency fund. Click here to Donate NOW!

If you are writing a check, then please make all checks payable to:

                 VHP of America: Ashraya and mail to:
                 VHPA, Ashraya
                 Yogesh J. Naik
                 Director Seva in USA
                 8313 Seagull Ln. Pearland, TX 77584

All your contributions will be tax deductible. You will be provided with a receipt for your
contribution. Tax Exemption ID: 51-0156325.

If you would like to help in any way, please contact us to participate. And thank you
for your support!

                                National Contacts
       You may contact any one of us for more information and to help.

      Sneha Mehta              770-394-1353
      National Director, Ashraya
      Yogesh Naik              281-485-8256
      Dr. Umesh Shukla         908-431-9845
      Dr. Abhaya Asthana       508-875-0432
      Arvind Sant              718-979-6144
      Chandresh Mamlatdarna    410-465-1538
      Srikant Konda            678-362-7480
       SEWA International
      Sudershan Khurana        770-977-5519
      Renu Gupta               513-860-1151

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