OBCA Concluded 7th National Convention

Tilak Niroula/New Hampshire

August 3, 2017

The seventh national annual convention of the Organization of Bhutanese Communities in America (OBCA) concluded Sunday July 30th charting out its action plan and emphasizing the formulation of the national managerial structure.

The participants had held discussions on various issues including the woeful situation of Bhutanese refugees languishing in camps, strategies to address their needs, and organizational expansion throughout the country.

Appreciation for Karen’s work by OBCA/Source: Padam Bharati’s facebook page

Karen Parde, chief coordinator of ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) Nebraska updated the convention participants on refugee statistics for the state of Nebraska, current ORR programs for refugees, and mentioned that Bhutanese refugee population is one of the fastest integrating & adjusting community into the US mainstream systems.
According to a press release issued by Krishna K. Sapkota, the Press & Publicity Secretary, OBCA honored some prominent individuals and organizations during the convention. Dilli Adhikari, CEO of Intra–National Home Care Services LLC received ‘Best Selfless Contribution Award 2017’ for his notable contributions in the community. Similarly, Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) received ‘Best Community Organization Award’ of the year. Gopal Gartoula, Karen Parde, David Keiz, Jitu Basnet, DJ Khaling, DS Ghaley received letter of appreciation during the event.

Aita Rai from Massachusetts was elected as vice-chairman of the organization. Likewise, the convention elected Jiden Rai – Secretary; Padam Bharati-Treasurer; Krishna Sapkota-  Press & Publicity Secretary; Jitu Basnet-Youth & Sports secretary; Karna Gurung- Language, Literature & Art Secretary. The convention empowered outgoing chairman DB Rai and NB Gurung as Board of Directors. DJ Khaling, DS Ghalay and Kumar Gurung are elected to advisory board. Ram Rai from Kansas, Bhim Gurung from Nebraska, Nisha Mabo from Iowa, Bila Angandgbe from Ohio, Sujit Magar from Virginia are inducted as respective state representatives.

The press release states, ‘Besides OBCA’s convention agenda, Inter-State Women Soccer Tournament and hosts of other cultural events were also part of the three-day long event. In final match, North Dakota “Shining Star” defeating Minnesota with four goals against three bagged the victory of the tournament. Trophy distribution and recognizing the teams, coaches, and judges  became another menu  of the event’.

OBCA officials posing for photo/Source: Padam Bharati’s facebook page

Newly elected chairman, Dilip Dahal stated, “Making Bhutanese communities in the United States of America stronger through cooperation, collaboration, and empowerment will be the most important issue of his job. “The new board of OBCA already met to come up with a clear plan of action for next 2 years. OBCA will go to work on these plans immediately after the convention. Details on this plan of action, remaining organizational positions that are not filled at the time of this press release, will be finalized and shared after OBCA’s first conference call”.
He also indicated the need to change some of the existing policy of organization. “OBCA will reach out to every city & state based Bhutanese community organizations to collaborate and to work together towards the common vision”, he concluded.

Gopal Gartoula, reporter at Himal Khabar Patrika and Ujayalo Network, who was one of the invitees from Nepal to attend the convention, presented a report highlighting the current situation of refugee camps in Nepal. Based on Gartoula’s report OBCA board held discussion during the convention and has decided to assign a committee to work on addressing the issues in near future.

The three day convention was organized in association with the Bhutanese Community in Nebraska (BCN).