शुभ दीपावली 2071 सालको हार्दिक मंगलमय शुभकामना
More than 1000 Bhutanese have migrated to Des Moines, Iowa since early 2008 and more and more Bhutanese are coming in to this city. With exception to few cases of secondary migration, most of the families come here directly from the refugee camps in Nepal. These families settle here with new hopes and dreams of leading a successful life.
The Refugee Resettlement Agencies including the Bureau of Refugee Services in Iowa are doing their best to help these families materialize their dreams and aspirations, but most of their services are time-bound. Families receive services for the first 6 to 9 months after which they will have to be independent because the resettlement agencies are not funded to serve the same family further. Though the educated families with some knowledge of English pick up from where they are left by these agencies, the old and uneducated have been found to be stranded in the labyrinth.There are many Bhutanese families who have not had any formal education. One of the serious issues common with most of the Bhutanese families is accessing the resources provided by the State, Federal Government and other local agencies to improve their living conditions. The elderly and people with disability are many in the community whose voices have not been heard or addressed. People with lack of proficiency in English language are clueless about what they would do to improve their living conditions. And among many other things, the one thing that needs attention is the Bhutanese people's rich cultural heritage which is in precarious position of decline. Therefore, with the sole objective of addressing these issues, a Bhutanese people's organization called Bhutanese Community in Iowa has been founded by the Bhutanese living in Iowa (USA).
Bhutanese Community in Iowa is a not-for-profit, and non-political community organization founded to reach out to the Bhutanese living in the state of Iowa for necessary support and assistance.
Bhutanese Community In Iowa (BCI) is registered in the State of Iowa as a Non-profit Organization. It is founded by the Bhutanese people living in the state of Iowa (USA). Core aims and objectives of the organization is:
We are hosting a cultural program on Saturday, the 18th of October 2014. The main purpose of this program is to showcase the cultural aspect of the Bhutanese who have made Iowa home. Particularly, this program will feature a host of songs and dances performed by artists from our community. Everyone is welcome. There is no entry fee. Donations are welcome. The time and venue are as follow:
Lincoln High School
2600 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315
11:00 AM - 2:30 PM
We hope to see as many of you as possible!
Community Awareness Program
Community Education Committee of BCI is conducting public awareness program regarding drug abuse and alcoholism on Saturday, March 22, 2014 between 9:30am to 11:30am at DMACC Urban Campus Building 1, Room 126. Mr. Doua Lor, Asian Outreach Resource Officer from Des Moines Police Department will be honoring the program as an official speaker. Community Education Committee of BCI encourage all the community members to join the program. To see the flyer for this program, please click here.
ESL Classes with Lutheran Services in Iowa
LSI (Lutheran Services in Iowa) is conducting ESL classes for adult refugee students in Des Moines where Bhutanese Community is included for the program. Community Education Committee encourages our community members with no or very limited English language proficiency to join these classes. These classes are scheduled to commence from March 24, 2014. For further information, please feel free to contact BCI's Community Education Committee at email@example.com. To see LSI's flyer for this program, click here.
Google Group: Up and Running
A Google group called Bhutanese Community In Iowa (BCI) has been created to facilitate communication amongst the members of the Bhutanese Community In Iowa (BCI). Many of you must have received the invitation to join the group. Those of you who have not received the invitation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can click here to log in to the group page.
The mission of the organization is to establish BCI as a common forum for enhancing the quality of life of all the Bhutanese people living in Iowa through empowerment, collaboration and cooperation; and to promote, protect, and preserve our distinctly rich cultural heritage in order to maintain our identity as Bhutanese Americans.
Dear Bhutanese Folks,
Namaste! A community organization was the need of the hour. I am glad that we got there. Yes, we made it after a long and untiring dedication from all of us to form this organization called the Bhutanese Community In Iowa (BCI). We waited for this moment with patience and perseverance, we clung to our mission unfazed despite many obstacles because we knew why we wanted this organization and here we are finally.
Before I say anything else, let me take this time to thank all of you folks, other organizations, and individuals who stood by us in creating this organization. It will consume many pages if I start mentioning the names of those behind this. Therefore, I would take a short cut route and say ‘thank you!’ from the bottom of my heart to all you folks here in Iowa who made this organization possible.
I am excited about the role of the organization’s President you have entrusted me with. It is my privilege and honor to lead from the front to shape the future of this organization. The journey has just begun and we have many miles to go. I am very positive that you will always be by my side as we move forward. You have teamed me up with very diligent and committed individuals in the Board of Directors. With their wholehearted support, I am very confident that I will be able to pave a way forward during the next three years of my presidency.
I mentioned earlier, the journey has just begun and I feel it is rightly so because so far we have been tangled in the process of formalizing the organization such as registering it in the state, writing the bylaws, holding election of the Board of Directors, so on and forth. Now, with very few things left in the ‘process’, it’s time to act - to materialize our mission and vision, and work toward some substantial ‘products’. Therefore, I would like to call upon all the Bhutanese Iowans to contribute what you can from your end.
BCI is our organization formed to help our community. It is yours and it is mine. We need to find out ways to help our families and ourselves. It is not wise to wait and let things happen, it is time to act and make things happen. So, to start making things happen, let’s ponder over these questions: How will our parents, many of whom never went to school, learn English to obtain citizenship of this country? How can we educate people about the laws so that we do not hear stories of our people getting in trouble with the law? How do our children get good education without having to struggle for English language? How do we preserve our culture, language and heritage so that we can proudly call ourselves Bhutanese Americans? What can we do to mitigate depression and other serious health problems people have in our community? It is you and me who need to look for answers to these and many other questions. Our families need answers to these questions before it is too late. We need to reach out and advocate what needs to be done. That’s why; I call upon you to find answers together. So folks, let’s join hands together for our common mission of uplifting our life style in this newly found home in America.
Rome was not built in a day. Definitely, it will take time and resources to be able to materialize our missions. But as they put it - the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; I think we have already taken some significant strides in gearing up toward our mission. We have formed all the task force subcommittees some of which have already started off with their activities. We have finished most of the groundwork that is necessary to build a strong foundation for this organization. Now, all we have to do is to act for the reasons we have this institution. So, let me reiterate, it is time to act to help each other and live by the spirit of I am because we are as we always did. Thank you!
Harka L Biswa
Bhutanese Community In Iowa
Annual Function 2014
BCI’s Annual Function 2014 , which is deemed by many to be one of our gala events held so far, was signed off on a high at 1:30 PM on April 5, 2014. Here is a synopsis of the event – both in words and in pictures.
Mrs. Tika Bhandari, the Treasurer of the BCI introduced the MCs of the program – Mrs, Ranjeeta Gurung and Birkha Gurung, before handing over the microphone to them. The duo of Birkha and Ranjeeta did exactly what was needed to anchor the event till the end.
The event began in a serious note observing one-minute silence in memory of those who lost their lives during pro-democratic movement in Southern Bhutan. This was followed by proposing the Chair and introducing the Chief Guest of the event. Mr. Harka Lal Biswa, the President of BCI and Mr. Pratap Subba, the legendary Bhutanese singer gleefully accepted to do the honor as the chairperson and Chief guest respectively. Badges were offered to all the invited guests. Lighting the candles by the Chief Guest and the Chairperson formally began the Program. Mr. Geeta Dahal, the Chairman of BCI’s Youth Welfare subcommittee welcomed the crowd by delivering a welcome speech. What followed after this was totally festive. The huge multipurpose hall of Valley Community Center in West Des Moines started to echo with mesmerizing songs, rocking dance numbers, and applauses from the audience. Well, there were other items too to swing the emotions between excitement and pragmatism.
The center of attraction, however, was the Pratap Subba show, which featured about six songs altogether in two sessions including his hits Bandan Ko Chino, Manay Maryo, Sankoshi Lai Sodha among others. The crowd welcomed him on the stage with cheer and a huge round of applause, and after that the atmosphere in the hall was nostalgic with reminiscence of the bygone days in Bhutan. In particular, Bandan Ko Chino was too touching to cause any Bhutanese individual walk down those memory lanes once treaded while back in Bhutan. Thanks to Pratap Subba for bringing those memories back to us!
The Bhutanese artists from South Dakota, Kansas City, and Nebraska and local Bhutanese artists from Iowa too rocked the stage with various traditional dances, songs, and gazals. Talents of Tul Rai from Nebraska, Krishna Limbu from Nebraska, and Puspa Gurung from Kansas city added flavor to the event while Sha Gurung, Harka Chamling, Tara Dhungana, Subash Gurung, Sonia Bhattarai, Kabita, Sunita, Heena, Ashis, Nisham Mabo, Rachana, and few others from the local Bhutanese artists too showcased their talents by either singing, dancing or reciting Gazals.
Besides showcasing of cultural talents, the other objectives of organizing the event too were accomplished successfully in a timely manner. The General Secretary, Mr. Chidananda Dahal, presented the BCI’s Annual Report updating members about BCI’s activities and achievements thus far. Similarly, BCI’s long time supporters and contributors were also felicitated during the program. Among those felicitated were Mark Odegard, Matt & Hannah, James Ransom, Ben & Meridith, John Zeitler, Zack & Sarah, Chip Lowe and Fredy Fizu from amongst the non-Bhutanese supporters, and the Initial Board Members, Election Committee members, and those who have contributed in taking BCI up to this level were felicitated too from amongst the Iowan Bhutanese. The Non-Bhutanese supporters received certificate of Appreciation from Harka Biswa, the President of BCI while the Chief Guest, Mr. Pratap Subba, felicitated the Bhutanese Supporters with Appreciation letter.
The other significant highlight of the event was honoring Mr. Pratap Subba. BCI President and General Secretary honored legendary Bhutanese Singer Mr. Pratap Subba jointly. While General Secretary, Chidananda Dahal offered shawl, President Harka Biswa handed Acknowledgement Letter to do the honor.
The Chairperson of the event offered vote of thanks to all the BCI’s supporters, well-wishers, Board of Directors, Volunteers, guests, participants, Chief Guest, and, at last but not the least, his daughter before concluding the program formally.