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Neither Here Nor There: Bhutanese Refugees in the U.S.


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Bhutanese Refugees leaving Nepal.  Source: Correspondent Adelaide Chen

Bhutanese Refugees leaving Nepal. Source: Correspondent Adelaide Chen

Facing a world map, most Americans would not be able to point to the Himalayan country of Bhutan. But thousands of Nepali-speaking refugees from this Buddhist-majority nation are arriving on North American soil, and soon will be part of the rich cultural fabric of U.S. society.

On this edition, correspondent Adelaide Chen brings us sounds from the journey of these new arrivals. From saying goodbye to the refugee camps, to settling into Oakland, California, their story of starting a new life is full of hard times, especially in this economy.


Ananta Gurung, Bhutanese American Community Center director; Don Climent, International Rescue Committee director; Tul Bahadur Tiwari, father and Bhutanese refugee; Gopal, Tiwari’s brother; Rianawati Rianawati, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Damak Office director; Padam Kumar Ghimirey, cultural orientation class participant; Januka Upreti, grandmother; Peter Newbegin, International Rescue Committee staff member; Damanta Kharel, Bhutanese refugee who went from graduate studies to serving fast food; Binod Gurung, Bhutanese refugee; Sushila, Gurung’s sister; Ann Strandoo, International Organization for Migration cultural orientation coordinator; Deepak Gurung, waiter and Bhutanese refugee; Bir Thapa, President of the Bhutanese American cultural center and taxi
driver; Phurba Tshering Tamang, Bhutanese refugee.

For more information:

Bhutanese American Community Center (BACC)
PO Box 3120
Alameda, CA 94501

Catholic Charities USA – Refugee Resettlement

Human Rights Watch

International Organization for Migration

International Rescue Committee (San Francisco office)

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Refugee Transitions

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

U.S. Dept of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

Additional information:

Amnesty International – Bhutan report

Banki, Susan. (2008). Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal: Anticipating the Impact of Resettlement. Australian Research Council Linkage Research Project.

Bhutanese Refugee Support Group

Bhutanese Refugees: The Story of a Forgotten People.
This Web site is a product of the Bhutanese Refugee Children’s Forum (BRCF).

Cultural Orientation Resource Center

Doria Bramante’s Blog : Documentary filmmaker who traveled to the refugee camps

Freedom in Bhutan (BLOG)

IRC’s Misha Cohen blog : About a refugee family’s adjustment to New York City

Author: Radio Project

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