Bhutanese Community Association of Illinois (BCAI) hosted annual cultural celebration event on November 17, 2012 concurring with the conclusion of Deepawali Festival.
The event was an attempt to make cultural wealth of the community to pass on to generations and to make other communities feel the presence of Bhutanese community, according to the organizers. The invitees from the ORR, resettlement agencies, Mutual Aid Associations, universities and other organizations added life to the event.
Dr. Silverman, the state Refugee Co-coordinator, stressed the importance of co-existence of the members of refugee communities in order to preserve their culture, and for smooth transition to integrate into the new culture. He emphasized on the integrated existence of the community members for the successful life of future generations. He congratulated and handed the certificate of appreciation to the performers. “ It is a great event,” said Dr. Silverman.
Patrick Augustin, Executive Director at Pan-African Association, thanked Dr. Silverman for his consideration of the establishment of BCAI. In addition, Augustin said that he could understand the process Bhutanese community has been undergoing to struggle in their new homes. He expressed his solidarity readiness to help the Bhutanese community in their need. Augustin also acknowledged the Advisory Council Members and the staff for their commitment towards building the community.
The BCAI Advisory Council Chair, Gopal Dhital highlighted the structure of the Advisory Council. He said, “Our Advisory Council is inclusive; it welcomes Bhutanese as well as non-Bhutanese as council members to ensure better minds and resources for the organization to address the adaptive needs of the community.” Dhital thanked guests from Office of Refugee Resettlement, universities, other agencies and organizations for their support for BCAI.
Hasta Bhattarai, the Program coordinator, thanked Dr. Silverman, the guests, Advisory Council Members, participants, community members and staff for their support to make the event a success.
BCAI is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps the refugees and immigrants to be self-reliant after the first phase of their federal assistance is over and no longer eligible for services provided by the resettlement agencies. It has served 350 Bhutanese clients with 80 job placements since it was established in 2010.
Around 300 Bhutanese folks attended the event. Bhutanese dishes, music and dance entertained the attendees.
With inputs from Hasta Bhattarai and Dinesh Dahal from Chicago