Bhutanese Fraternity Global News

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9/8/10

Don't Forget !! >>> TEEJ CELEBRATION - Sunday, September 12th - 10 am to 1 pm, Battery Park, Burlington, Vermont



http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/

Greetings !! YOU ARE INVITED !!

WHAT >> Teej Festival - The Woman's Festival
WHY >> The festival is celebrated for marital and relationship bliss,
well-being of spouses, partners and children, and purification of
your own body and soul.

WHERE >>Battery Park, Burlington

WHEN >> Sunday, September 12,from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm

WHO >> This festival is for everyone, ladies and men, from all creeds, nationalities and religions.

If you are unfamiliar with Teej, please read about it HERE (click)

HOW >> Wear your best festival clothes !! Ladies are encouraged to wear red. If you would like to contribute and participate, you may also bring flowers, fruits, sweets and coins for offerings and praises. Cameras are allowed, however, please respect privacy and show discretion.

IF you want more information >>>>>>
Please call Narad Timsina at 802-310-8128.



Hello Everyone,

This is to inform you all that we are going to celebrate "Teej", one of our highly esteemed cultural festivals.

Please come to Battery Park, Burlington on September 12, Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

All volunteers and family friends are invited too.

For further information about the celebration, please call Narad Timsina at 802-310-8128.

Contact Rehman (Remu Timsina) to request him to make a copy of your best Teej Song.

All Bhutanese families are invited to celebrate this festive occasion together. We hope this
celebration will bring happiness, joy, success and peace to all.



Teej

"Teej" is the fasting festival for women. It takes place in August or early September. The
festival is a three-day long celebration that combines sumptuous feasts as well as rigid
fasting. Through this religious fasting, hindu women pray for marital bliss, well being
of their spouse and children and purification of their own body and soul.

Traditionally, the ritual of Teej is obligatory for all Hindu married women and girls who
have reached puberty. Exception is made for the ones who are ill or physically unfit. In
such circumstances a priest performs the rites. According to the holy books, the Goddess
Parbati fasted and prayed fervently for the great Lord Shiva to become her spouse.
Touched by her devotion, he took her for his wife. Goddess Parbati, in gratitude sent her
emissary to preach and disseminate this religious fasting among mortal women, promising
prosperity and longevity with their family. Thus was born the festival of Teej.

The first day of Teej is called the "Dar Khane Din". On this day the women, both married
and unmarried, assemble at one place, in there finest attires and start dancing and
singing devotional songs. Admist all this, the grand feast takes place. The jollity
goes on till midnight, after which the 24 - hour fast commences. Some women without a
morsel of food or drops of water while others take liquid and fruit.

Gaily dressed women can be seen dancing and singing on the street leading to Shiva
temples. But the main activities take place around the Pashupatinath temple where women
circumambulate the Lingam, the phallic symbol of the lord, offering flowers, sweets and
coins. The main puja (religious ceremony) takes place with offerings of flowers, fruits
etc made to Shiva and Parbati, beseeching their blessing upon the husband and family.
The important part of the puja is the oil lamp which should be alight throughout the
night for it is bad omen if it dies away.

The third day of the festival is Rishi Panchami. After the completion of the
day's puja, women pay homage to various deities and bathe with red mud found on the
roots of the sacred Datiwan bush, along with its leaves. This act of purification is
the final ritual of Teej, after which women are considered absolved from all sins. The
recent years have witnessed alteration in the rituals, especially concerning the
severity, but its essence remains. No matter how agonizing the fast may be Nepalese
women have and will always continue to have faith in the austerities of Teej.

Article by Padmakshi Rana
Photographs collected from Deependra Bajracharya and Min Bajracharya.

2/24/10


The Vermont Bhutanese Association Invites you to the:

Holi Milan Festival

When: Sunday, February 28, 2010
Time: 1:00 pm
Where: Battery Park, Burlington, Vermont


Sunday, February 28
Pundit—Dilli Ram Dahal
Battery Park, Burlington Vermont
1:00 pm Holi Songs (bring your own CDs)
1:15 pm Bhajans
1:30 pm Arathi
1:45 pm Sharing of fresh fruit (grapes, apples, oranges)
2:00 pm Celebration with dry colors (provided – donations requested)


The festival does not recognize any bars of caste, class, tribe or creed! Drenched in colors, every¬body comes to resemble each other, losing their original self. This is the beauty of this festival. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that this festival treats everybody at par. All differences dissolve in the colors that flow in plenty! Let this festival give everyone an opportunity to come together in peace and harmony. Allow the magic of Holi Milan to conjure up love and brotherhood for everyone in the community.

2/12/10


Bhutanese Community Meeting


Dear Bhutanese Friends & Families,

We are pleased to inform you that we are planning to have a LUNCH WITH VOLUNTEERS (meeting) on April 24, 2010 at Memorial Auditorium Annex from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. We also feel the need to get together to discuss and plan for the event (pre-event planning meeting). We expect and desire your input in this event.

To discuss and plan for the LUNCH WITH VOLUNTEERS day, please come to the Community Room at CHCB (Community Health Center) on the 20th of February, 2010 from 8:30-10:00am for the pre-event planning meeting. Also, please convey this message to the new families you know. We'd appreciate it if you bring new families to the planning meeting with you.

We hope many people will attend the planning session on February 20th and that everyone will attend LUNCH WITH VOLUNTEERS (meeting) day on April 24th!

Thank you for your time and Cooperation

Cheers!

Vermont Bhutanese Association (VBA)








10/9/09



Attention Bhutanese Friends !!!! Important Meeting Tomorrow > Saturday, October 10 from 9am to 11am


IMPORTANT MEETING FOR BHUTANESE PEOPLE THAT RENT APARTMENTS or HOMES !!!

Learn About Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities !!

Tomorrow - Saturday - 9am to 11am, at the Community Health Center, in Burlington.

The workshop will be interpreted into NEPALI
********************************************************************************************************************

Do you know that your "security deposit" money may be taken by your landlord when you leave your apartment?

Did you know that the landlord was keeping YOUR money (your security deposit) in a bank account for you, during the last year?

Did you know that this security deposit belongs to you - if you have kept your apartment in good condition and you didn't cause any damage or leave any unpaid bills?

Even if the VRRP paid the security deposit for you when you first arrived in the USA, this security deposit belongs to you! VRRP was using your money when VRRP paid the security deposit and first month's rent!!

Did you know that your security deposit equals your monthly rent?

If you pay $800/month in rent, then your security deposit is $800 !!

If you pay $1400/month in rent, then your security deposit is $1400 !!

Do you want the $800, $1400 or whatever, paid to you when you leave your apartment and move to a better place?

GO TO THE WORKSHOP TOMORROW !!!

LEARN ABOUT SECURITY DEPOSITS AND MANY OTHER IMPORTANT LAWS THAT PROTECT TENANTS !!

When: Saturday, October 10 from 9 am to 11 am
Where: Community Health Center on Riverside Drive in Burlington

Who: Any person that is a renter or tenant!

How: The workshop will be interpreted into NEPALI

TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS - THEY ARE INVITED ALSO !!

call Damian if you have any questions

8/11/09

Ferry Boat Ride to New York and Picnic This Saturday



Dear Friends and Families,

We are pleased to inform you that finally we have made a concrete decision about organising a ferry boat ride to New York and a community picnic after the ferry ride.
The ferry boat ride and picnic will take place on Saturday, August 15, 2009. We hope everybody will join the ferry boat ride and picnic.

Any body can join this trip and all the family friends and volunteers are also very welcome. All families can prepare a picnic lunch at home and carry the lunch during the ferry trip. We will share our picnic lunches together after walking to the North Beach from King Street Dock. You may also take a city bus from near the King Street ferry dock (bus 5 or bus 8) to Cherry Street and transfer to another bus (bus 7), which will bring you to Burlington High School, which is very close to North Beach.

Please carry enough water for your children. Bring bus passes if you have them.

Volunteers, if you are joining us please let us know by replying to this e-mail. Let us make this picnic a grand success! Please have fun! For further information please contact either Harka Khadka (316-6291) or Madhu Neupane (316-6729)

Thank You - The Vermont Bhutanese Association (VBA)

5/17/09

The Hindu Temple Society of Albany, New York

Pilgrimage to the Albany, New York Hindu Temple

More than 75 Bhutanese people of all ages, made a pilgrimage to the nearest Hindu Temple in Albany, New York. This large group filled one school bus and two 15-passenger vans! This trip lasted all day and included many opportunities to reflect, pray and sing within the Temple. Everyone enjoyed a meal provided by volunteers from the Albany Temple. We thank everyone at the Temple for hosting us so kindly and graciously!

Here is a link to some of the photos that were taken on that pilgrimage!

Albany Temple Photos and other photo albums from Burlington, VT area Bhutanese events.


*******************************************************************************
May 17,2009

Damber, Beda, Dickcha and Shichya Bhandari took a day trip to the Hindu Temple in Albany, New York on Sunday, May 17, 2009. The trip is about 3 hours drive each way. Below are some photos and videos from the excursion. Beda and Damber recommend a visit to this temple!

The temple is a very nice medium-sized temple. The temple is open every day. There is also a very large cultural center building beside the temple. The cultural center has a large kitchen, dining hall, classrooms and an auditorium with a stage for dramatic performances.
Every Sunday food is offerred for a small fee at 11:30 am. When the Bhandari's visited the temple and cultural center, they were generously provided with a full meal at no charge!

Please examine the website from the Hindu temple and you will see the range of services and programs they offer. >>>> http://www.albanyhindutemple.org/index.php



The Hindu Temple Society of Capital District, NY., Inc.
450 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY 12211


HERITAGE DAY : Sunday, May 17, 2009

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

HINDU TEMPLE CULTURAL CENTER

CHILDREN'S DRAMA THEATRE PRESENTATION

1. Nala Damayanti

2. Nama Ramayanam
CLICK THE > "ARROW" BELOW TO LISTEN AND SEE A VIDEO OF SOME OF THE DRAMA PRESENTATION >>>>>>>>>

video

5/4/09

Summer job opportunity for 16 to 24 year old Bhutanese

Click here to see the new posting at: >> http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/

Jean Palmer, a family friend and well-wisher of the Bhutanese community in the Burlington area - asks that you read the following information regarding possible summer jobs for male and female Bhutanese (age 16 -24). >>>>>>

The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (www.vycc.org) hires young women and men ages 16 -24 who work and study together under adult leadership to complete important conservation projects such as state park management, trail maintenance and backcountry construction. I have worked with this organization before and they do great work. They are committed to having diverse crews and are excited by the possibility of having some Bhutanese young people on their crews. They hire for 4 week sessions during the summer and the pay is $322. per week. This is a great opportunity to make some money, develop leadership skills, improve your English reading, writing and conversation, learn job skills, and make new friends. It is a great job reference for anything you might want to do in the future. There will be an Information Session with VYCC staff at the Community Health Center of Burlington on Thursday May 14 at 4 p.m. Call: Jean Palmer for more information - 864-6309 ext. 181.

Damian, Beda Bhandari's friend, states that his son Patrick worked for VYCC and enjoyed the work experience very much. Patrick also enjoyed the travel and the opportunity to see many areas in Vermont while he worked for VYCC.

Summer job opportunity for 16 to 24 year old Bhutanese (during summer school vacation)

The VERMONT YOUTH CONSERVATION CORPS - VYCC is currently accepting applications for Corps Members to work on small crews completing high-priority environmental conservation projects across the state of Vermont. Click here to see some example projects that have been completed in prior summers >>> http://www.vycc.org/projects/pastprojects.html Each summer, VYCC crews restore trails, streams, historical sites and natural areas, as well as manage Vermont State Parks. Working for the VYCC gives you a chance to make a lasting contribution to Vermont's communities and landscape.

The VYCC is an intense and challenging experience, full of long days and hard work. It is also an immeasurably rich experience with many opportunities for growth and learning. As a VYCC Corps Members, you need to be prepared to work hard and learn more than you could possibly imagine about your surroundings and yourself.
Our different crew types offer increased levels of challenge and responsibility for Corps Members who work with us over several sessions.

Why VYCC
The VYCC is a statewide, year-round, non-profit conservation and education organization with the mission of teaching individuals to take personal responsibility for their actions. Each year we enroll over 300 Corps Members and full-time AmeriCorps Members, aged 16-24, to work, live, and study together in small groups. All of our crews complete priority conservation, agriculture, park management, and disaster relief projects throughout Vermont and beyond under the guidance of highly trained leaders.

Since 1985 the VYCC has provided young people from every county and nearly every town in Vermont the opportunity to gain valuable natural resource training and education. The VYCC has completed several million dollars worth of priority conservation work in Vermont through partnerships with agencies and organizations, such as the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Vermont's Green Mountain Club.

5/3/09

Moving in and/or out of Burlington or Winooski?

Click here to read this new posting: >>> http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/

Moving in and/or out of Burlington or Winooski?
To help make the move out and transfer process go smoothly and to avoid deductions in your security deposit here are some tips.
* When you move out, make sure to clean the place thoroughly. Clean the oven, refrigerator, bathroom, windows, floors, etc. If you do not do this, the landlord may deduct money from your security deposit. The key is to make sure the apartment/house is in as good, if not better, condition as when you first moved in.
* Remove all personal property and dispose of garbage in bins provided. It is illegal to leave items on the greenbelt, in a front yard, in a city park, in the street, or on the sidewalk. Anyone leaving trash in an improper location can be fined up to $500.
* Contact ALL the utility companies to terminate your services.
* Remove your name(s) from the mailbox, and have your mail held at the post office until they receive your new address. The post office will forward all your mail when they receive your address on a "change of address form" This can be completed in person at the post office or online at: https://moversguide.usps.com/icoa/flow.do?_flowExecutionKey=_c39D79E17-A1EA-11EE-CADE-A7563E4BBFF7_k66500E36-2309-97AF-C417-87DC169BD524. Online forms require a debit or credit card though.
* Make arrangements to have your landlord examine the apartment/house to get approval before you move out. You may save money from your security deposit if minor problems are found you can repair yourself. If you filled out a Move-In Check List with your landlord pull out that document and fill out the Move-Out portion. This will help ensure that you document the condition of your apartment as it was on the last day of your lease term.
* Return your keys to the landlord.
* Give the landlord your forwarding address so that your securitydeposit (and a list of itemized deductions from the deposit if there are any) can be returned to you within 14 days from the time you have vacated the apartment. If you do not see your security deposit within 14 days you can call VT Tenant's Inc. (802) 864-0099 for more information on your rights. They also have security deposit return form letters available.
This information is provided by the Spring Move Out Project (SMOP) and the Spring Move In Project (SMIP) in an effort to make moving more convenient and inexpensive during "peak times" throughout Chittenden County. http://www.cswd.net/events/movingguide.shtml

The date for this year's SMOP is May 29th!
Can't make SMOP! Visit CSWD's Burlington Drop-Off Center (339 Pine Street) on Wed 9:30-5:00 p.m.; Thurs & Sat 8:00-3:30 p.m.

Click here for other CSWD Drop-Off Center locations.
Click here for SMOP brochure.
Click here for a guide to sustainable living in Burlington.
Click here for trash disposal options.

BOOKS - No Charge.Used hard cover and soft cover books are accepted at all CSWD Full-Service Drop-Off Centers. Paperback books can also be recycled in your blue bin.

CLOTHING / TEXTILES - No charge!Includes sheets, towels, belts, purses and pairs of shoes tied together. Must be clean and dry. Deliver to any CSWD Full-Service Drop-Off Center

OR >> Salvation Army WarehouseIndustrial Parkway, Burlington, 860-1117Open Mon - Sat, 9:00 to 4:30

OR >> Goodwill Industries329 Harvest Lane, Williston, 879-0088Open Mon - Sat, 9:00 to 8:00; and Sun. 10:00 to 6:00

Please click here for additional reuse options.

FOOD - No charge! Non-perishable, unopened food only. Deliver to: Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf.

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS & FURNITURE Including couches, rugs, appliances, kitchenware, computers, electronics, sporting equipment and more. Items must be clean and in good condition. Electronic items must be relatively new and repairable.
Deliver to: ReCycle North

OR >> Goodwill Industries329 Harvest Lane, Williston, 879-0088Open Mon - Sat, 9:00 to 8:00; and Sun. 10:00 to 6:00

Please click here for additional reuse options.
or see "Furniture - Used" in the Yellow Pages.

HAZARDOUS ITEMS - NO CHARGE! Batteries, motor oil, gasoline, paints, cleaning chemicals, fluorescent bulbs, insect spray, and other potentially hazardous materials are accepted at:
CSWD Environmental Depot 1011 Airport Parkway, South Burlington, 863-0480Wed, Thur, Fri, 8:00 to 2:00 and Sat, 8:00 to 3:30

CURBSIDE RECYCLING & TRASH PICK-UP For recycling options, click here.For trash disposal options, click here.

CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO ENLARGE >>>>>>>>>>>>>




4/22/09

Bhutanese refugee leader gunned down in Nepal camp

News post: >>> http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/


Bhutanese refugee leader gunned down in Nepal camp

(click here for the source link) >>> Kathmandu, April 22 (IANS)

A 52-year-old Bhutanese man living in a refugee camp in eastern Nepal was gunned down Tuesday, police said.

Shantiram Nepal, a 52-year-old, was killed by a group of people who attacked him at his hut in eastern Nepal’s Beldangi camp.

Five people have been arrested on the suspicion that they were behind the killing.

Nepal was said to have been a member of the underground Communist Party of Bhutan (Maoist) that says it will start an armed struggle in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to overthrow its hereditary monarchy.

The 52-year-old is said to have left the party recently.

More than 100,000 Bhutanese have been living in refugee camps in east Nepal since their eviction by the Druk government almost two decades ago.

After hopes of repatriation failed, many of the refugees have opted for settlement in western countries.

Led by the US, other governments like Canada, Norway and Australia have offered to provide a new home to the refugees.

The exodus however created tension between those who want a fresh start and those who want the world community to pressure Bhutan into taking its citizens back.

The Bhutan Maoists are opposing the resettlement in other countries.

Nepal’s ruling Maoist party said it would resume repatriation talks with the Bhutan government but so far, has made no progress.

Many Maoist leaders blame India, Bhutan’s largest donor and trade partner, for the impasse, saying India’s support has emboldened the Druk government into refusing to take the refugees back.

The Syracuse, New York Bhutanese Community Struggles to Find Jobs

Economic recession makes life harder for refugees

Posted by Maureen Sieh /The Post-Standard , Syracuse, New York, April 20, 2009 5:51A




Photo by Mike Greenlar
Bhutanese refugees Chali Wagle 19, her father, Karna Wagle (right) and neighbor Gopi Neopane (left), meet with Jasenko Mondom, a job developer at the Refugee Assistance Program on Park Street. in Syracuse. Everyone laughed when Mondom asked if Karna was strong and healthy enough for a construction job. Karna responded that he had done that kind of work before in Nepal.

Syracuse, NY.-----Read my story in Monday's Post-Standard about how the economic recession is affecting refugees. Many of the nearly 1,000 refugees who settled in the Syracuse area in the last year are having a tough time finding work.

Jasenko Mondom, a job developer at the Syracuse school district's Refugee Family program on Park Street, remembers when employers used to call him every day looking for refugees to fill entry-level positions at local factories. These days those jobs are hard to come by because factories are closing, reducing hours and laying off workers, he said.

Refugee resettlement agencies receive funding from the federal government that requires them to put refugees to work within the first four months of their arrival. But Jasenko and others say they're having a hard time meeting that deadline because of the economy. Refugee resettlement agencies nationwide are experiencing the same problem.

With the loss of manufacturing jobs, refugee agencies are looking at other areas of the economy-seasonal agricultural jobs, retail health care and house-keeping as well as enrolling refugees in job-training programs.

"We're looking at any kind of market outside the factories that we've gone to,'' said Felicia Castricone, executive director of Northside CYO, the Catholic Charities agency that runs the refugee program.

Last year, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County placed more than 50 refugees at Plainville Turkey Farms, now known as Kosher Valley. When the company changed management, 57 refugees were laid off, said Harvey Pinyoun, a caseworker and volunteer coordinator. Nine of those workers were called back, he said. The agency also placed workers at Beak & Skiff, an apple orchard in Lafayette.



Photo by Mike Greenlar /The Post-Standard

Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Services caseworker Harvey Pinyoun(left)assists Burundi refugee Jean Baptiste in finding employment, at CYO on North Salina St. He was recently laid off from the former Plainville Turkey Farms, now Kosher Valley.

The Refugee Family Program has enrolled Bhutanese refugees in certified nursing assistant programs at James Square Nursing Home and Iroquis Nursing Home, Jasenko said. Some refugees are also enrolled in the Northside Green Train, a new initiative developed by the Northside Collaborative to offer basic construction and weatherization training for neighborhood residents.

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli secured funding for the 12-week program, which seeks to help residents find jobs, said Dominic Robinson, the collaborative's program director. Thirteen of the 15 participants are refugees, he said.

"We're working with refugees because clearly there's huge population on the North Side,'' he said. "About 300 families a year come to our neighborhood through the refugee resettlement agencies. We wanted to target them initially just because we have good relationship with the agencies, and it's an easy pipeline.''

Refugee resettlement agencies are also working with refugees who have been laid off from jobs they've had for years. Refugees are competing with American workers for the limited number of jobs that anybody will be eager to take in this economy.

Some refugees moved here from other states, hoping to find work, but found the same challenges. The lines are long at all three refugee agencies. Most people come looking for job leads or need help filing for unemployment benefits and other social services.
"People who are used to working, they don't want to be on the dole,'' said Matt Centore, a job developer at the refugee center on Park Street.

Chali Wagle, 19, a refugee from Bhutan, showed up at the center on a recent Monday with her father, Karna, 43 and their neighbor, Gopi Neopane, 40.

Gopi was a seamstress in Nepal. She made clothes and sold them in the market. She's hoping to find work using her sewing skills. Karna has some experience in construction. He went to several construction sites where other Bhutanese refugees worked, but no one was hiring, he said.
Chali said her parents have been looking for work since they settled here in September. She finished 10th grade in Nepal, but Chali said she wants to find a job.

"I'm looking for any sort of job I can do,'' she said. "I feel bad I can't find work.''
After fleeing civil war, economic and social injustices in their homelands, most refugees are eager to find jobs so they can take care of their families and pursue the American dream. While they are safe and free, refugees are concerned about their financial future.Jean Baptiste, 35, a refugee from Congo, lost his job at Marquardt Corporation in Cazenovia in December. He's been looking for a job since then because it's hard to support his wife, Maria and their 6-year-old daughter, Agnes on the $180 he receives every week from unemployment."I can't pay all the bills," he said. "It's too difficult to find any job because too many companies, no work. If you not work, it's not a good feeling. It's too bad."

Jean story was echoed by the dozens of refugees I interviewed for this story. During a recent visit to Catholic Charities' refugee center on North Salina Street, I found six Bhutanese refugees using the computers in the job development office to fill out online applications for housekeeping and food service positions at St. Joseph Hospital Health Center. Five of the six refugees have bachelor's degrees, but they'll take any job.

photo by Mike Greenlar /The Post-Standard
Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Services caseworker John Miller Jr. lower left, works on his computer at CYO on N. Salina St., with an office full of college educated Bhutanese refugees, looking for local employment. Front L to R Prakash Kharel and Kumari Pokhrel, back standing Megh Powdyal, sitting Bhim Basnet. The three men have college degrees in Nepal, Kumari did not finish her degree. Miller specializes in refugee employment.

Prakash Kharel, 28, was one of them. Prakash settled in Syracuse two months ago with his wife and their two children, ages 4 and 8. "I'm just looking for any kind of entry-level job,'' he said. "I just want to get a job now.''

John Miller, a FrancisCorps volunteer at the refugee program, has been helping refugees find work. He helps them fill out applications, takes them on interviews and talks to employers. Some refugees, he said, have found jobs on their home at local hotels and retail stores. John is leaving in August to start medical school, but he's concerned about the refugees. The job market is challenging, but the refugees need a lot of support because of what they've been through to get to America, he said."We are a nation of immigrants,'' he said.

4/13/09

Reporter's Diary - One Year in the USA




This is an excerpt from a news article posted today on 13 April 2009 by the editor of the Association of Press Freedom Activists (APFA) – Bhutan. It is an organization in exile established to work for a freedom of press and freedom of speech and expression in Bhutan.

The article was published on April 13, 2009. Here is the link to the entire article: http://www.apfanews.com/opinion/reporter%e2%80%99s-diary-one-year-in-the-usa/

Reporter's Diary - One Year in the USA
By Kazi Gautam

When I reached office of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), a wing of US CCB, one of the receiving agencies in Syracuse, New York (where I now live), I was thrilled to see the hall full of people. I mean the resettled Bhutanese.
There was a meeting to plan for establishing a community center. The Bhutanese community in Syracuse has been planning for a community center to carry out their own activities.
They wish to organize their own ESL classes, have Bhutanese Community meetings bi weekly to welcome the new arrivals, plan for the future programs, explore the ways to preserve cultural identity, and perform and plan for religious, social and cultural activities. These are just some of the things to be carried out in the Bhutanese community center.

It takes me by surprise when I think that I have passed eleven months in Syracuse after getting resettled here. There was the time when one could only see a few resettled Bhutanese in the area. However, the story has a different aspect after 11 months when Syracuse alone has over 300 Bhutanese - about the same number as Vermont. Syracuse is a city of more than 200,000 citizens. It is located about 5 hours from Burlington, Vermont.
When Hari Bangaley, my case manager received my wife and me in the airport, I felt the warmth of the Nepali heart and his smile and greeting erased my tiredness then. However, these days the new comers are greeted by not less that five people. The Syracuse streets are usually covered by the Bhutanese people. Some are found walking to the groceries and some are walking to hospitals. Many of them are encountered on their ways to ESL classes. Some are seen walking to the Madina Halal, one of the three places where a goat meat is sold.

A gathering of Bhutanese. Photo: Kazi Gautam/APFAnews

These days I see many people have been struggling to get employed. The educated people fill application online and visit employers in person while others have to rely on their job developers. Incredibly true, around twenty Bhutanese got employed in March which has eased the pain of both the exiled Bhutanese and the receiving agencies. I still remember those days ........................... Click here to read the remainder of this article >>> http://www.apfanews.com/opinion/reporter%E2%80%99s-diary-one-year-in-the-usa/


4/12/09

Bhutanese Refugee Empowerment Project

New Information, Please Click Here: >> http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/



(The following article has been published by SEWA International)



How are our "resettled" brothers and sisters from Bhutan and the Nepal refugee camps surviving? Please read this story below. There are already two SEWA Bhutanese Empowerment Projects operating in our small neighboring state of New Hampshire - and three next door in Massachusetts!





Bhutanese Refugee Empowerment Project


http://www.sewausa.org/bhutanese-refugee-empowerment-project



Sewa International USA provides a helping hand to Bhutanese refugees


The population in Bhutan mainly consists of two communities: the Drukpas and the Lhotshampas. In 1985, conflict between these two communities resulted in a mass exodus of Lhotshampas to Nepal. Starting from then until 1994, more than 110,000 Lhotshampas took refuge in seven UN-administered camps in Nepal living in very poor conditions.


The United States eventually volunteered to resettle 60,000 of these refugees, with the remainder destined to go to other developed nations. In 2008, they began arriving in the United States in what the UN has described as one of the world's largest resettlement efforts ever.



These refugees are given only a few months of support from the government and the resettlement agencies. After that, they are required to become self-sufficient. The most pressing needs are for financial assistance, employment, and basic material needs. They also require support to help them make the transition to this new land.


These are poor families who cannot afford to buy essentials such as blankets, winter jackets, and toys for their children. Many have no jobs or are students and have no income. Although the VolAgs (Voluntary Agencies), or resettlement agencies, provide some support for the first few months, it is not adequate.


Though many of the refugees are educated and can speak English, many of them have remained unemployed. And because agency support and government aid is not available to them for an extended period of time, the assistance of Sewa International is quickly becoming a lifeline for many of these families.

Sewa International USA is providing:

Sewa International USA has taken up a nationwide project to help these families. Currently, our chapters in various cities, along with various local organizations, are working to fulfill the immediate and longer-term needs of these refugees with several more chapters gearing up to help.



Sewa International USA is providing:


  • Financial help

  • Essential materials such as blankets, winter jackets, clothes, toys etc.

  • Employment assistance

  • Job search assistance

  • Sponsorship of vocational training

  • Job fairs

  • Mobility

  • Help in acquiring driver licences

  • Sponsoring or donating used cars

  • Help in transitioning to a new environment while preserving their culture

  • Help in conducting cultural events

  • Mentoring and friendship

  • Rides to their preferred places of worship

Each chapter may only provide certain services depending upon availability of resources. We welcome any Bhutanese refugees who need help to contact us at the information provided below.
Locations:
Sewa International USA is currently conducting the BRE project at the following locations.








Contact:
Email: info@sewausa.org


Phone: 510-579-4742


How can you help?

We appeal to our benefactors to donate towards this project. We also appeal to the community and its organizations to provide a helping hand.


Supporting Organizations:
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh
Hindu Temple of Atlanta
India Association of New Hampshire
Sunnyvale Hindu Temple
Vishwa Hindu Parishad

4/9/09

Please attend the Bhutanese Community meeting (tomorrow) on Saturday, April 11 at the Burlington Library at 1:00 pm

CLICK HERE>>> http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/






Namasté !

Attention! Here is the news and an announcement of the first Bhutanese Community Meeting!


Saturday (tomorrow)
April 11
1 to 3 p.m.
Fletcher Free Library
235 College Street
Burlington


Dear family friends and well wishers,

We are pleased to invite you to the first informal Bhutanese community meeting scheduled to be held on Saturday, the 11th of April, 2009. The meeting commences at 1:00 pm and ends at 3:00 pm at the Fletcher Free Library, 2nd floor. This gathering is initiated by some willing-to-help local friends as we build a strong Bhutanese community here in northern Vermont. Invited are family friends of Bhutanese families (volunteers), representatives from each Bhutanese refugee family, and well wishers to our Bhutanese community. May we have the pleasure of your company at this meeting as we work together to build a vital Bhutanese community? Your presence is highly solicited.

Many Thanks - Madhu and Harka


Dhanyabaad

4/5/09

Need help with your landlord situation, or do you have questions about renting rules and laws?

Another posting at the Vermont Bhutanese Association forum website: CLICK HERE

http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/




“Judge orders state to enforce housing rules,” By Wilson Ring, The Associated Press August 29, 2008,


This posting is from a Burlington Free Press newspaper article by Wilson Ring, of The Associated Press, dated August 29, 2008.

The formatting and link to this article was provided via a link to the: Vermont Tenants, Inc. website.

The Vermont Tenants, Inc. office is located at 294 North Winooski Avenue in Burlington, Vermont, (nearby the Food Shelf office).

Vermont Tenants, Inc. provides free direct services to tenants including advice, advocacy and referrals and they conduct workshops for various groups on residential rental housing laws, codes and more. Most of Vermont Tenants, Inc. services are provided by phone, but walk-in clients can usually be assisted during normal business hours.

They produce and distribute the widely used handbook, "Renting in Vermont, Handbook. " This handbook provides information about Vermont's Landlord-Tenant laws. Please stop by the Vermont Tenants, Inc. office (at 294 North Winooski Avenue in Burlington) and ask for a copy of the "Renting in Vermont, Handbook".

They will be happy to give you fair and friendly advice regarding any question you have about renting an apartment or questions you may have regarding how your landlord treats you or your renting situation.

3/21/09

NEW Federal Funding Will Help Boost Refugees ??


Another new article at>> http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/

In Vermont, we eagerly await these new funding, staffing and rent subsidy funds and initiatives.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_11968051

Federal funding boost will help Utah refugees
Rescue » New money allows for expanding staff and shrinking caseloads.

By Julia Lyon
The Salt Lake Tribune

After 15 years at a refugee camp in Kenya, Ali Amin arrived in 2007 in Utah, where he felt lost and afraid of the snow. His 11-member family -- the grandmother is now 102 -- included a child who was so sick that Amin didn't think he would ever walk.
But his son is exploring the world on his own two feet these days, and his father, emboldened by a driver license, is doing the same thing behind the wheel.
The Somali refugee family credits much of their success to the devotion of its case manager at the International Rescue Committee. "I think if Stacey weren't helping us, we would not survive," Amin said Friday through an interpreter.
The family benefitted from special long-term case management, which, starting this month, all new refugees will receive. Thanks to federal dollars, Utah's resettlement organizations were able to hire a large number of new staff, who will guide and supervise refugees during their first two years in America. The goal is to foster independence and ensure families aren't overlooked.
This is a massive shift in a system that critics say has previously left many refugees feeling abandoned and neglected. Minimal funding meant staffers were overwhelmed and unable to provide more than basic help.
Under the previous system, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Catholic Community Services (CCS) welcomed refugees, found them a place to live and helped connect them to services, such as food stamps and health insurance.
After about 6 months, refugee cases were transferred to the Asian Association, where a staff member was responsible for as many as 130 individuals and families. Critics say some refugees received too little, if any, help.
"We were putting 'band-aids' on problems," said Lina Smith, director at the Utah Refugee Center based at the association. "We absolutely didn't have the staff to do proper case management."
All three groups have expanded staff thanks to about $2 million per year in federal welfare and social service dollars for the two-year experimental program.
Thanks to nine new employees, Smith's staff members each now have between 35 and 40 cases. Families will be matched with case managers who speak the same language. At all the agencies, Iraqi, Burmese and Bhutanese staff have been hired, because those are the largest refugee groups expected this year. Visiting refugees' homes will happen more frequently, something that was often unrealistic for frantic workers before.
"They couldn't even have lunch," Smith said.
Stacey Shaw, who worked with Amin's family as an IRC long-term case manager, helped them with a variety of challenges, from re-enrolling the kids in school to making doctor's appointments. Her goal was to empower the family to be self-sufficient, and that's begun to happen. Now Amin can go to the pharmacy alone. He made a doctor's appointment this week without any help.
"A big part of it is being able to develop a relationship with the family," she said.
Starting March 1, IRC began to keep all its new cases for two years. CCS will continue to transfer its cases to the Asian Association after six months, but the additional staff will allow the association to give the new refugees increased attention during the following year and a half. The goal is for agencies' caseload to drop to about 20 per case manager.
Before the move, stories abounded of refugees who hadn't seen their caseworkers for a long time and didn't know how to get help, explained Gerald Brown, the director of Utah's new refugee services office. With long-term case management, that is expected to stop.
"We've got contracts with all three [agencies], and we're going to monitor them," he said.
Staff morale is high at CCS, said Aden Batar, resettlement director. An additional boon will come when some refugee families begin to receive new housing subsidies this year, decreasing monthly rent pressure.
"With these two things working together, then I think we can work with the families on long-term issues," he said, citing English skills as an example.
His counterpart at IRC, Patrick Poulin, believes this is the direction refugee programs "need to go."
"Hopefully it's something the new administration will look at," he said.
http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_11968051
jlyon@sltrib.com

"If we live, too much difficult. If we die, too much difficult,"

Forum website address: >>> http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/


"A Bhutanese refugee died recently in his Vickery Meadow apartment in Dallas, within walking distance of Lal Subba's home. The family had no money for a burial, so Subba and the other Bhutanese families in the complex took up a collection to ensure the elderly man received appropriate honor for the life he led.


"If we live, too much difficult. If we die, too much difficult," said the 21-year-old who grew up in a Nepal refugee camp and came to Dallas in October, only to find a flailing national economy instead of the idealized American dream.

That reality is now hitting Texas (and Vermont), where laid-off workers and legal immigrants are vying for a declining number of jobs in blue-collar industries.


Purna Ghaley (left) and Lal Subba, refugees from Bhutan, walk to the Park Lane transit station for their commute to downtown Dallas, where they work for a catering company. They and their families moved to Dallas last fall to start new lives after living in a refugee camp in Nepal. " Photos by SONYA N. HEBERT/DMN"




Texas has suffered less than its Midwestern counterparts and has no plans to slow its refugee influx. It took in a little more than 5,000 refugees last year, an increase of almost 800 from 2007. Texas generally places in the top four states for the number of refugees it accepts annually from the federal government. The state of Vermont accepts the largest number of refugees per capita, of any state. The problems in Vermont are severely compounded by the lack of a large and varied employer base. In Burlington, Vermont where most of the Vermont refugees are based, most USA residents are employed by local colleges, schools, the hospital, IBM and local, state and federal government offices. For the most part, these employers do not have any jobs that Bhutanese refugees qualify for. The problem is simple, Burlington, Vermont is a small town with a mostly "white-collar" oriented employment base, composed of just a few major employers.

"We are at the beginning stages of feeling the impact in Texas," said Caitriona Lyons, the state's refugee program coordinator. She said it's now taking longer to place refugees in jobs, thwarting the adjustment process and lessening their ability to become self-sufficient.

In Vermont, the overwhelming majority of Bhutanese refugees that have lived in Vermont for 5 months or longer, do not have any jobs and certainly not stable or sustainable jobs.

Subba is one of more than 1,000 refugees who arrived in Dallas as the nation began its financial nose dive. A teacher by trade, he found a part-time job as a dishwasher after three months of searching. He makes $64 a day, sometimes working only one day a week. That barely covers the $555 in rent and utilities each month for himself and his mother. Food stamps leave enough for rice and vegetables. They choose sweaters over heat.

The $445 he receives monthly from the International Rescue Committee will trickle to $187 next month and stop in July, along with the Medicaid for his sick mother.

"I see people under the bridge and I think, 'Will that be me?' " he said in the halting English he learned in the camp. His Nepali ancestry put him at risk in Bhutan, and his refugee status left him shunned in Nepal.

"We are in the right place at the wrong time. This is a good country, but when we arrive here, it's too much difficult to get a job for all people, not just us."

About 60,000 refugees arrived in the U.S. last year – 8,000 more than in 2007. The number is expected to grow in 2009.

The Vermont refugees are supported with small monthly stipends for about the first 4 months. No other substantial services are offered by the resettlement agency. Many of them are placed in apartments that they cannot afford, once the first four months of meager stipend checks cease.

The solution is not to decrease the flow of refugees but to overhaul the entire system during the new administration, said one person. She wants more resources channeled toward housing assistance as well as programs that focus on the increasingly diverse pool of refugees entering the United States.

"This is a decision to rescue people in extraordinarily dire circumstances," she said, citing the nation's longstanding history of moral obligation.

The U.S. took in more than 90,000 refugees in the early 1980s when the economy teetered just as precariously as now, she said.
In Vermont and elsewhere, generally, the state the refugee agencies are well-staffed, however the refugees see almost no effect. Phone calls and messages to refugee agency employees are seldom returned. The refugee agency does not even answer their phones most of the time! The refugee agency is not even located in Burlington or Winooski where the majority of refugees are located. This causes major disruptions to refugees to trek via bus and foot to adjoining towns using a disjointed bus service. This is just the beginning of frustration and fear for the Bhutanese refugees. It gets much worse from there.

The stimulus package will affect refugees the same way it does lower-income Americans, but that still won't significantly help them, said Debi Wheeler, the IRC's regional director in Dallas. The search for jobs and housing is compounded by a culture shock that includes anything from buying a DART ticket to learning how to tell the difference between a $1 bill and a $20 bill.
"There is just not enough money for what we are required to do, and the recession is bringing to light the challenges that are faced by these programs," she said.

"Imagine finding an apartment in America for one person, and we are looking for hundreds."
Area caseworkers say it's even more difficult to find employment for refugees. Last May, IRC job developer Jim Stokes placed 11 to 12 people a week in positions. Now, he hopes for two to three a week. Prospects for gainful employment in Vermont are much more bleak.

Dallas hosts three federally funded refugee agencies: IRC, Catholic Charities and Refugee Services of Texas. Vermont hosts just one, even though more refugees were brought to the state than any other state, on a per capita basis. From the $6.2 million allocated through Texas, a little more than $1.6 million will go to Dallas this year. The agencies lobby for funding from the state government.

3/20/09

A Bhutanese leader in New York

Please listen to a neighbor of ours that now lives in the city of Syracuse, New York. CLICK >> on the video at : http://vermont-bhutanese-association.blogspot.com/


3/3/09

Bhutanese people organize inportant event

From the >>> http://www.apfanews.com/stories/a-bhutanese-show-in-minnesota/

"A Bhutanese show in Minnesota

Posted on 03 March 2009 by the editor of AFPA. Minnesota, March 03, 2009:

Bhutanese recently resettled in the state of Minnesota in the USA, celebrated Bhutan Day on February 28 with a number of cultural shows, performances and a first conference in an attempt to visualize the atrocities of the Bhutanese government in early 1990s to evict them.
According to Barun Dhakal, more then 200 people attended the program, which was basically organized to empowered refugee youth and give Bhutanese a chance to learn more about Minnesota’s refugee services as well as get job hunting advice.

The event was planned by a small group of Bhutanese leaders and friends and the Nirvana Center (the first Bhutanese Center in the state) !!!

And the event was sponsored by:

the Asian Indian Family Wellness Center (SEWA),
the Asian Pacific Endowment Center (APEC),
the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT),
the Center for Asian Pacific Islanders (CAPI),
the Council for Asian Pacific Minnesotans,
Lutheran Social Services,
the St. Paul Foundation,
the World Council of Churches
and World Relief.

The event is expected to help teach western people about Bhutanese refugees, where only a few people know that there are currently about 106,000 refugees from Bhutan, primarily from Southern Bhutan, evicted when the government imposed a policy of one nation one people.
The morning started with an informational presentation on resources for refugees by Patricia Fenwick, executive director of World Relief, followed by breakout workshops on a choice of topics, employment, youth, elders and mental health."

From the >>>
http://www.apfanews.com/stories/a-bhutanese-show-in-minnesota/

2/27/09

Apartment Security Deposit Refunds - Legal Requirements

Remember: you have a fair and objective advocate on all matters related to renting rules, responsibilities and disputes!! Your advocate is: Vermont Tenants, Inc. Vermont Tenants Inc. is located at: 294 North Winooski Avenue, Burlington, Vermont; 05401 phone: (802) 864-0099 or 1-800-287-7971

Security Deposit Refunds - Legal Requirements

The landlord must return the security deposit by hand delivering or mailing it to the tenant’s last known address within 14 days from the day the landlord discovers the tenant has moved out or from the date the tenant actually moves out, if the tenant gives the landlord notice that he or she has moved. The security deposit return should include a written statement itemizing any deductions taken out by the landlord. It is to the tenant’s benefit to get notice to the landlord, along with keys to the apartment, on the date they move out. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit and statement within the 14-day period, the landlord must return the entire deposit.

A tenant who does not receive his or her deposit back or who disagrees with some of the deductions the landlord takes may go to Small Claims Court to try to recover the deposit. (See, “Using Small Claims Court”) Tenants of apartments in Burlington and Barre can go to their local Housing Board of Review. It is sometimes possible to avoid this process if the tenant and landlord can work out a compromise. The parties may want to try to negotiate before, or even after, a claim has been filed in Small Claims Court.

If the landlord willfully withholds or fails to return the security deposit and written statement, the landlord may, at a judge’s discretion, be ordered to pay the tenant two times the amount of security, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs if the tenant goes to court.

What is “Normal wear and tear”?

Normal wear and tear is the deterioration which occurs normally with occupancy of a rental unit and which is not the result of negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse of the premises by tenants or their guests. [Definition from Vermont state law: “ ‘Normal wear and tear’ means the deterioration which occurs, based upon the reasonable use for which the rental unit is intended, without negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse of the premises or equipment or chattels by the tenant or members of his or her household or their invitees or guests.”]

A landlord cannot deduct from a security deposit the costs of ANY of the following things:

Routine maintenance,
Painting (unless careless, negligent, accidental or destructive tenant activity or actions make repainting necessary when it normally would not be),
Re-advertising the apartment (except in some circumstances when the tenant has broken the lease) (See, “Breaking a Lease”)
Renovation of the unit.

A landlord may NOT deduct from a security deposit any funds unless the damage was caused by the tenant or their guests through negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse.

If the landlord attempts to make a deduction from your security deposit for anything that was NOT damage caused by
negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse caused by you or your guests- then you should notify the landlord in writing that you do not intend to pay for these erroneous charges. Tenants of apartments in Burlington can go to the Burlington Housing Board of Review. It is sometimes possible to avoid this process if the tenant and landlord can work out a compromise.

--- For Questions: Contact Vermont Tenants Inc. at 864-0099.

--- Always send a written notice to your landlord and/or property manager informing him or her of the problem and of what actions you intend to take.

NOTE: This document is intended to serve as a general guide to tenants and does not constitute a legal opinion or legal advice regarding any specific situation.

Vermont Tenants, Inc. is located at:294 North Winooski Avenue,Burlington, Vermont; 05401(802) 864-0099 or 1-800-287-7971