Filed under: Bhutanese Refugees by Editor —
“When I was told to get resettled in to USA, I was told that all my worries will be deleted, I will have better health Care facilities, and I can enjoy the full fledged human rights. I didn’t think more to opt for resettlement when I heard that I will be relieved of refugee tag that I have been tied with for decades. When I get resettled, those entire magic spell didn’t come with me to USA, what came with me was just my old fate. I didn’t get treatment to my health problems” Ms. Khatiwoda who is a Resettled refugee from Sanischare Refugee camp in Morang Nepal into Kansas City Kansas talked with the writer. The writer is now confused, why these refugee folks are resettled into USA, when they are complaining that the life is more complex than in the refugee camps in Nepal?
When the rumor came in 2006 that the USA gonna resettle around sixty thousands Bhutanese Refugees in to United States of America from the refugees camps in Eastern Nepal. It was debated for and against by Bhutanese Refugees in the Camps. Many opined that USA by itself is ‘ U Start Again’ so all who will resettle will have a new beginning of life. Other opined that those who get resettled into USA will become a bonded labor in the factory despite their ability and educations. I was wondered at that time, what frame of reference enabled the refugees to argue with such perceptions?
Refugees from Bhutan have been resettling in to almost all the states of USA. There are around 300 refugees resettled in Kansas by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Catholic Charities who resettles Bhutanese has the provision of three months care under the plan of early self sufficiency. Refugees on arrival will get good care under the coordination of Kansas Bhutanese Community and Catholic Charities for the defined period of Time. The activists of the Kansas Bhutanese Community work extra hours to help the newly arrived fellows from Nepal in all the cited areas. Once they inhabit in the new land, refugees will have new hopes as predicted while in the refugee camps. They will have food stamps with Medicaid provided, health screened, necessary help somehow will be provided, but after four months of their arrival they start to give the opinion that it is a big blunder to get resettled.
Catholic Charities works very hard to meet the necessary requirements of this folks form Bhutan. They help to apply for Social Security Card, Employment authorization and other necessary documentations so as to ensure that refugees will have no worries of locating their identities later. After that, the refugees will be compelled to go to the job to make their living. Catholic Charities work hard and refugees get jobs basically in Triumph Food in Missouri and Fed Ex in Olathe. Once they get job, they are expected to make their life by their own.
Now is a good time to make some research about the Bhutanese Refugees resettled in Kansas. Let me talk a bit about the areas which need real attention with careful concentration, otherwise resettled refugees will become burden to the Government departments, the other communities in the localities, and concerned agencies about the refugee folks.
Within a month or a two, refugees are sent to work by the agency but they are never prepared to go to the job. Why? The main reason is they are not habituated with the environment in multiple senses. They need time to understand the traffic, legal systems, community patterns, system of governance, cultural diversities, human lifestyles and other many many concerns they need to focus. Are refugees who are resettled from the camps capable to do all this things within a month?
We know that the Kansas lifestyle is quite sophisticated like in almost all states in America. Learning about the local life style takes months. Refugee folks who are uneducated need years to learn about it. Around 50 % of the refugees are illiterate in English. 25% are students currently going to school, and and remaining 25 % are a bit literate. Is there any program with the Unified government of Kansas City and Wyandotte county, State government of Kansas or Federal Government to address the basic requirements of the Bhutanese refugees in the state?
The refugees have their own religions, cultures and they have their own conservative, traditional and rural frame of references for life. Is the Kansas state government giving some acceptances to these peculiarities that the refugees have brought safe despite challenges up to USA, a heterogeneous world? The Bhutanese individuals evicted out from Bhutan have suffered too much in Bhutan; their life in the refugee camps was more vigorous than the one in Bhutan. Are they liberated now in Kansas from the grip of pains, pathos, agonies and agoraphobias? This is a big concern to be addressed for the sake of the refugee and their future? If the state considers them to be just the immigrants, this will go in vain. At present, 90% of the refugees don’t have their family physician, 50 % of them don’t know how to make their medical appointment because they don’t speak English. At this time of need the state government has not thought of keeping a Community specialist for this community. So, how can we consider that the refugees are resettled with the hope for new life?
When the refuges go to Social Rehabilitation Services (SRS), no interpreter service is provided, the scenario in the Social Security Offices is the same. The biggest problem is that the majority of Bhutanese refugees don’t know how to do the paper works for SRS and other government departments so as to get benefits. Almost 99 % percent of the refugees don’t know how to apply for the Green Card because the application process involved good ability in English and the state law. Don’t we need some community specialists to support this community? Isn’t this a right time to address this concern? Why are the concerned stakeholders ignorant about this deal?
If Obama is not restoring the one time told English Pigs by the ex-prime minister Pushpakamal Dahal Prachanda of Nepal in to American piggeries, the Bhutanese refugees should be given some encouragements to skill oriented training before they are enchained by the knot of jobs. Some privileges should be given to the refugee students who are inneed of support to go to the college and university.
Last week, the US ambassador to Nepal said in a press meet in Kathmandu, that US is preparing to facilitate job oriented skill training to around 1100 Nepalese Youths in the Terai districts of Nepal. If US can do that why is it not doing some merciful considerations to the Bhutanese resettled folks? At least six months of English classes, Driving training, Interpreter Service, and some community Specialists are very much necessary for the Bhutanese resettlers so as to be prepared for the jobs and to secure their future. Even KU Med, where around 300 Bhutanese visit regularly, has only contract interpreters, which has barred providers from addressing the health issues of the refugee resettlers. Can’t KU Med hire a couple of full time interpreters to facilitate better health services?
The symptoms of frustrations, bipolar mental disorder state, and anxiety trodden disappointments have started to be seen in the community. Aged people are restricted indoors, are they pet animals to be confined indoors? Inability to practice their culture, no access to religious practices, community sickness due to indoor confinement etc. have produced a very serious situation in the refugee community in Kansas inneed of an immediate address.
If the state doesn’t bring any effective programs to support this community, the Bhutanese folks will have their degraded life further deteriorated in the future. Day by day, increasing number of refugees have been getting resettled, does the state want them to express their distressful opinion ‘wherever we go, our fate accompanied us’.