ABA, OBCA heads stress unity


Chairman of the Association of Bhutanese in American (ABA) and Chairman of Organization of Bhutanese Communities in America (OBCA) have jointly expressed their commitment for unification of these two organizations.

OBCA chairman Kharel (L) and ABA chairman Dr Chhetri

Speaking on an exclusive radio interview with TP Mishra of Bhutan News Service, Dr. Purna Chhetri of ABA and Yam Kharel of OBCA expressed their hopes for unified platform sooner than later.

Chhetri and Kharel, however, did not hint on the timeframe to make this happen.

BNS spoke with the heads of both the organization at a time when calls have been emerging around for unification.

If you have problems listening at the audio below, Click here to link to our radio site.


  1. Nice.

    Take it slow. Conduct a few programs together. See that you understand the culture of each organization and how each functions. Figure out what is common, what is being uselessly replicated, pick up issues faced by the community and discuss together how best to address them, analyze (together) the strengths and weaknesses of both the organizations, see where you can complement each other, reduce and ultimately eliminate competition and then eventually (IF IT SEEMS LIKE A BETTER IDEA) merge. If it looks like you can best serve the community as separate but collaborating organizations, stay that way. Don’t compete; collaborate. THAT is unity.

    Reach out to each other when there is a need in the community you can’t meet. It is less about what you do and more about what gets done in the community. If you have ONE SINGLE organization that organizes a huge gala once a year and does nothing else, we don’t need it. Focus on services that are critical.

    Looks like Mr. Kharel and Mr. Chhetri are on the right track.

  2. We shall work as facilitators, since the unity is for the general good. These are not ideological institutions, there is no dispute and the only tussle is the pie-share. We understand that we need to stand on our own feet still such institutions provide moral strength and accommodative like feeling.
    Some people are always playing negative roles inviting communal catastrophes. We need to understand their motives. So let’s hope that we have a single ‘Bhutanese’ institution.

  3. Mr. Bhutangey should be the chief of “Bhutan-Nepal Talk” from Bhutan’s side and work like a virus not to accomplish the people’s expectations. Mr. Tortola’s thinking of sharing a Pie (funding in this case, in the name of the same people) is correct. But what good is it in “Sharing a pie in the Sky”? (Aakash ko phal, aankha tari mar) For example, if there is One Federal Funding opportunity, the local/state orgs will apply their own. From the national level, these two orgs will try their own. Does it look good to go with “Two plates in hands” for one offer? Hey…come back as one next year. Sorry! Impression! impression!

    Greater probabilities lie with being one at that level.

    It is not about the needs (which are being addressed locally) but it is about representing the common peoples’ aspirations at the national level so that the history of Bhutanese in America can begin well with the very first impression. It is matter of ABA/OBCA understanding people’s expectations with new perspectives or remain beholden to the DeJa Vu. They can either become “Pioneers and Pathfinders” or simply jokers in the pages of history of Bhutanese in America.
    Wishing you the Very best for One Convention next Year so that we…the people can proudly attend.
    Thank you
    Dick Chhetri

  4. Good work BNS.
    In person both the leaders sound ok. The question is ‘are they independent’?
    I mean do the leaders have reserved right in their respective office to prove what they say?
    For their individual stand and for their words towards people is good. Keep up Mr.Chhetri and Mr. Kharel. We wish you two be in a same org.
    Yes, Mr. Mishra has asked about the presence of very few people of ill intention in both the orgs. everyone should be aware of it. Such people donot let others remaining and doing well if their vested interest is not duly fulfilled.

    TORTOLA: Could you please make us clear what do you mean by

    “Some people are always playing negative roles inviting communal catastrophes”

    If at all anyone senses such unhealthy practices they cannot be excused. We were brothers and sisters even in the long past and we are and we shall remain united.
    My request here is ABA and OBCA !!! you are dividing innocent Bhutanese in the name of convention!!!. Please prove me wrong.

  5. It looks like heads of both the national organizations feel the need of unification but still both are not ready yet. It is understood that hectic American work culture could be one of the factors that has not let them to be united but it is open secret that there lies ego problems in between them. To be specific, ABA feels that it is the oldest national organization formed in diaspora. On the other hand, OBCA feels that it has greater support of people.Hence, they have problem to be in common comfort zone.There is no denying the fact that NATIONAL ORGANIZATION can not solve all the problems of general people at the local level. Solving problems at the local level should not be the top priority of national organization since there is existence of local organization rather it should have objective of complementing local level organizations in bringing resources to the targeted population, lobbying with the government,civil society, international communities in regard to our common issues,strengthening local organizations formed and help forming local organizations where people are struggling in forming communities,etc. Hence, let both the national organizations feel that there is no sense of having two or multiple national organizations and that is against the spirit of general people.
    Namaskar !
    Bhagirath Khatiwada
    Concord, New Hampshire, USA

  6. It is good to have an organizations to develop our community in this big land to guide us but i think this both organization OBCA AND ABA are both set up in personal interest of an individual. This organization are just established in an intention for individual benefit. state of being Bhutanese refugee in the past and now as a new immigrant; I have seen a lots of organization, parties, communities and clubs which helps for their community. But this organisation seems that they are not legally authorized, their past history shows that they hadn’t organized any program before about our society.This is the first time I heard about OBCA AND ABA; after listening interview with Dr. Purna Chhetri of ABA and Yam Kharel of OBCA, I just wonder that who are they?…Dr. Purna Chhetri of ABA and Yam Kharel of OBCA are elected by Bhutanese people?..Or they just formed this organization by their self to be reciprocated?. How this organization formed? All Bhutanese are happy with your community?…How many states did you include?..Do you have an agreement from all American Bhutanese people, from all state?..Finally I would like to object your organization…

  7. I totally agree with Bhagyashalee. These greedy leaders, didn’t did any thing in the past, are not doing anything right now and will never do anything in the future, except pocking their nose and making their pocked warm in the name of we innocent people…..If you guys want to stand on your own feet, there is no need of any organizations…did this groups did any things in our society till now? and they are not gonna do in the future too. So it is unreliable to say that there are Bhutanese organizations for the seek of our people….they say that they have a annual meeting every years, but they are not gonna do any thing rather than eating food and be drunk in another sate…….Dear Bhutanese don’t follow these moronic person who says them self as a leader.If you follow and listen them, than you are not going to gain any thing, instead you will loose a lot…
    Think it is time to think…..

  8. It was interesting to listen to the heads of these two organizations and talking of unity. There are several good things they mentioned that caught my attention.

    First, both leaders strongly feel that there is not much difference between these two organizations – then my question is why are they existing as two separate entities? what are the costs and benefits not to the leaders but for the Bhutanese in America? I think there is a serious thinking needed on this point.

    Second, one good indication that Mr. Kharel is attending the ABA conference in Pennsylvania is a right step to bridge the gap and understand the other organization better. I think more people should attend this conference and help in building this bridge.

    Third, they mentioned about identifying the needs of the community and what the population is looking for in terms of service. In my honest understanding it is the most critical point and what the community needs is substantive settleme3nt service and not petty politics. We need to help people settle by providing immediate help and supporting them in finding right job as per their skills and capabilities. I am not sure if both these organizations are fully committed and devoting their energies in serving the people with full dedication providing settlement services. This is the burning need of the hour whether we like it or not.

    Forth, it might be a good idea for the two organizations to examine their constitution, by-laws and see how they are different and similar. Do we need these two organizations at this time and whose needs are they serving? It is important to sit down and analyze this fact honestly. This will reflect the true American/Bhutanese spirit and not trying to doge from facts and reality. Once we find out what people need and how we are serving them it might be important to keep these two separate organizations but design effective programs based on people’s expressed needs. I wish both the organizations good luck and encourage unity in action and be honest to each other.

    The two leaders have made a good beginning by speaking the fact realistically and TP Bhai did a good job of airing their views for people’s understanding. I see this as a positive sign and good leadership skills…..but we need to do more work in the ground and not just talk….

  9. Great move.
    At least last year,around this time the hungama of unification was at its height.Kharel proudly gave an interview with bns stating his top priority as the chairman of obca was to unify obca and aba. A year has passed since then except few guys (member of neither) stressed the need and themselves tried to organize the campaign for the early unification.
    Next comes the annual convention,public interviews are given by both chair but to what extent this unification practically happen is a million dollar question.Coz unification issue has became a talk of the day only after a year and that too at the verge of their respective conventions.
    If the chair(s) is/are really committed to the unification process then they should be able to make certain sacrifices.
    Secondly Mr. Kharel attending aba convention in Pittsburgh PA is just a attempt to fool us. Last year Hari Bangalay attended obca meet in Atlanta and this year it is their turn to see their way of playing foul game!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Two is better than one but sometime one is better than two, look at this interpretation:
    The self made leaders of those self formed organizations are not associated with Bhutanese refugees resettled in the USA. The leaders don’t know what that they are doing. The keep on talking about their organizational chart and keep on representing the people but who are their people? do they have any data, survey conducted, evaluation to prove that? Do they have refugees’ consent to represent their voice? They keep on talking about come together but what are they going to come together with? Where did they get support from?

    Do you have any fundings to serve this large chunk of population at the national level? what are you starting with? If there is no any representation from the group you are talking about, your proposal is failure because its not going to serve the targeted population. Why don’t you bring a feasible program which can benefit the targeted group? do you have any federal fundings/grants?

    Chhetri’s statement is insulting to Kharel and the people who don’t have their doctoral degree. If you are a doctor, you are a doctor of the field you studied, not necessarily everywhere. You can apply your doctoral degree to teach third generation(e,g targeted population)kids to succeed with their academic career. Chhetri likes to bring the program where it could benefit the Bhutanese refugees resettled in the USA. Why don’t you write your proposal to the Office of Refugee Resettlement(ORR) and be a sub grantee and start serving the unserved population?
    Chhetri, you have mentioned that, “people ko expectation k cha, we still don’t know”. This shows that you have no one to work with in the regional level and you guys have big national talks without refugees representation on your program design. This shows that ABA has the same trend as it used to be in the refugee camp representing the peoples’ voice without knowing their concerns and consents. Bhutanese refugees listening this big talk should be aware about those big talks and if they are feasible to you.
    OBCA on the other hand has some credit as they are the primary source of information and they can represent the refugees as they have got greater support from the people who they are representing to.

    There are few things both ABA and OBCA should take into consideration:
    1. Tell funders/donors something about your organisation
    2. Describe your activities at national level and how would Bhutanese refugees be benefited with your resources?
    3. What is your targeted group?
    4. What did you accomplish last year?
    5. What have you planned for the upcoming year?
    6. What are your strengths and challenges?

    The credibility on your organizations depends on the answers of the aforementioned questions to the Bhutanese refugees like me who thinks National Level of organization should take into consideration.

  11. dont try to be leaders yourself mr chetri and mainali…… Both of the organization that u r saying is the organization set up to unite bhutanese community in usa is only ur thinking and ur will to become chairman? i have few question to both of u…. do ur organization include all the people of all states? where u elected or choosen as the chairman thru any election?? where the representative from all the state were present to choose u as the chairman of ABA OR OBCA? I know ur answer is no………….. kina sahaj rupma bhutaneselai feri bechnay bichar 6 ki kya ho neto ho…………… I m not satisfied and encourage all bhutanese community not to go in this conference …… if u mistakenly go than the supposed leader will sell us again in our name……….

  12. idea is good one
    but democratic process of election and policy formulation is the first step.
    orgasiation members or active members (if all bhutanese are members)needs to be identified and may be unification is possible

  13. First and foremost, let us understand – ‘Unity’ is a mindset – not something that dangles upon technicalities alone – which the two leaders stressed too much upon.

    Chhetri and Kharel have a mindset in which both of them seem to be too heavily bugged down under technicalities – formalities, time management, by-laws etc – being ‘locked in’ too much that even the philosophy, principles and ideology behind unity seem wrapped up in technicalities.

    A unity achieved with a proper mindset will bring glory and grandeur where as the one achieved by technical maneuvering alone will obtain only bigger and multiple projects, nothing more.

  14. In support of RP and many others, I hasten to say as of now:

    What bylaws?
    By the people is the bylaw.
    What constitution?
    Call of the people is the constitution.
    What technicalities?
    Say “possibilities”!
    What formalities?
    Say “Transformation” to UNITY…..”Unity in Diversity”
    What addressing the needs?
    Needless to say!
    Good Luck
    Dick Chhetri

  15. Dr. Chhetri and Mr. Kharel:

    Please do not let these insults, personal attacks, name-callings and inuendoes get to you. There are people in the community who are benifiting from what you have been doing – it is not enough but it is something and it is done with love and selflessness, more often with the money out of your own pocket. So, thanks for holding up well so far.

    When you meet in person next, please focus on discussions on how to increase the services you provide because that is where you will make a difference. People need help with interpretation, with housing, with employment assistance and with language. Resettlement agencies are not doing enough. There is a need to supplement their efforts. Given what Congress is now, ORR may have its funding slashed, which means services available to refugees will decrease. Many of us will depend on organizations like yours for help. Please set up mechanisms to meet as many needs as possible. It does not matter how you provide services – as five organizations or as one- but please do so in a way that is the most effective.

    There are some of us in the community you can call on for help with moving forward. We may not be visionaries like some commentators here, and we do not have all the answers, but we do recognize the sincere desire to serve, the minimal skills required and the desire to listen. You both have that. Those of us willing to help do not have grand philosophical advice to give you, we do not have warnings to deliver or threats to compel you to be united in a way we think appropriate. But what we have to offer are technical skills from negotiations between the two organizations to designing programs, securing resources and implementing projects. So, you do have the kind of support you will actually need. Brave this storm, have candid discussions, share expertise and knowledge, complement each other and we are there for you.

    So, again, please ignore the insults being thrown out here by those who do not have the guts to get down and dirty and do anything that will help the community, other than writing insulting commentaries on the efforts made by others, however small they may be.

  16. Dear Mr.bhotangey,

    Then you are one of the guys stopping these two groups from being ONE right?
    This is what I got from your comment. Let them act independently please.
    They are heading for unification. Please do not overrule them.

  17. Bear Mr Govin Rai,
    I dont think these both organization r set by bhutanese community nor this organization have representative from all states where bhutanese r ressettled…… I dont see any value or potentiality on both ABA and OBCA to work for us….. Both of tiese organization r self created for personal benefits……..

  18. With due respect to the ongoing convention of OBCA from where good things may…may be coming out, I need to respond to Bhutangey:

    True, locally, both the orgs may be helping as any other local/state orgs. But the people are not depending on the national orgs to meet their local needs. By the time they settle their differences, most funding opportunities will be lost to other refugee groups from other countries….and there goes the need.Remember most of the refugee funds are for 5 years from the time they land in America. What really the Bhutanese in America want from their national leaders is: Not the Need but the Deed. The right deed to lead by creating an environment at the national level where we can move forward in the spirit of Unity, hope and progress. The psychological benefits of Unity, the sentiments and expectations is much greater than the “False Promise of Addressing the Needs”.
    As I said before, these two leaders of ABA/OBCA can either become well known with a vision for future as “pioneers and Pathfinders” OR become jokers in the pages of history of Bhutanese in America that is just beginning. They have the opportunity,they have the choice, whether to recognize or not depends upon them Now. The people will pass the verdict Later.

    Wishing them the very best and inviting for the Unity, Hope and Progress of the people.
    Dick Chhetri

  19. Dear D J Khaling,

    Congratulations on being elected as the Chairman of OBCA. You have accomplished your much awaited dream. My friends and I have voted for you. Remember what promises you made to us before the election. Now you are the head of your brain-child organization and its survival depends on you. I hope this new responsibility will make you more mature and you will stop making irrational comments and writing rubbish emails under different names from today onwards. You are carrying the hopes and aspirations of new Bhutanese Americans. Your act can make or break OBCA.