Bhutan Media Society (BMS) said it distributed Rs 1,162,676 (equivalent US $ 16,610) that it collected through the online donation drive to fire victims of Goldhap and Sanischare refugee camps of Jhapa and Morang districts.
Distributed in three different phases in Goldhap, Sanischare and Beldangi-II (for those shifted from Goldhap), the program was channelized through camp based organizations, camp management committee and volunteers of Caritas Nepal funded Youth Friendly Center and BRAIN (Bhutanese Refugees Association of Intellectual Novas) on May 10 -13. Basudev Khanal and Roshan Shanker of the BRAIN accompanied the BMS team throughout the distribution period.
During the course of distribution, 1424 children received Rs 240 and 2959 adult refugees got Rs 260 on individual basis, according to BMS coordinator Jeetan Subba. Refugees of Goldhap camp received Rs 788,040 and those of Sanischare camp Rs 349,860. (Download distribution criteria)
The donation from the Association of Bhutanese in Norway, the highest contribution the society received went to 676 children. Altogether, 4383 affected refugees belonging to fire-gutted 751 huts in two UN-monitored camps received the contribution in presence of government representatives and officials of various aid agencies including the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
Besides the contribution from resettled Bhutanese and their community organisations, BMS also distributed contribution made by non-resident Nepalis from Australia and other Australian well wishers, the drive being initiated by Parsuram Sharma Luital and his team. Altogether, Sharma’s team was able to raise Rs 256,718 (equivalent AUD 3334) for the fire victims.
Sharma also contributed AUD 200 to the Society for mobilization of the funds and even made arrangement to transfer all funds collected by BMS from across the globe and Australia to Nepal free of cost.
According to the Society’s Manager Vidhyapati Mishra, who led the distribution team, fire-victimized refugees were really grateful for everyone who decided to extend the helping hand.
“The response from the community was enormous. They have felt that they are still taken care by their fellow-countrymen,” said Mishra adding, “The donation also went to a four-member Nepali family affected by the fire mishap.”
Meanwhile, speaking at a program in Goldhap, Camp Supervisor of the Refugee Coordination Unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs Pashupati Niraula lauded the inititative and expressed gratitude for all donors including the non-resident Nepalis.
“The government likes to thank everyone supporting fire victims of Goldhap and Sanischare camps,” Niraula said.
The BMS further said that donation from community organisations was highly appreciating.
According to Manager Mishra, the Association of Nepali Speaking Bhutanese in Denmark donated US $ 1965 following by Bhutanese Community Resource Center, USA (US $ 1493).
Other organizations included Bhutanese Community of California (US $1116), Bhutanese Community in Melbourne (AU $1015), Bhutanese Society of Kentucky, (US $ 806), and Bhutanese Community in the Netherlands (510 Euros) among others.(Download donations from other community organizations)
Several individuals also participated in the donation drive, promoted by the Bhutan News Service, contributing amounts ranging from US $ 10 to 100, and that their total donation amounted US $ 812.
“Bhutan Media Society shall remain ever thankful for everyone who provided a medium to make the donation reached to every victim of both the camps,” Manager Mishra added.
BMS, a platform of refugee journalists, has been involved in a series of community works since 2004 and doing similar donation drives during in various instances in coordination with the Bhutan News Service.
(With inputs from Tilak Niraula, Lakpa Tamang, Khem Dahal and Tulsi Upreti from camps)