Bhutanese Nepali Community of Columbus (BNCC) held its second general election on December 26, 2015 at Community Resource Center, 4646 Tamarack Blvd Columbus Ohio.
Ganesh Ghimirey, the election committee chairperson nominated a five-member Election Commission headed by Ganga Lamitarey comprising of Kamal Subedi, Tek Nath Rizal,Tara Acharya and Tulsi Chimoriya as members. Total of 41 candidates expressed their interest in serving the community of which three candidates later withdrew their candidacy.
According to the Election Commission, there were 273 registered voters of which 265 voters cast their votes by the secret ballot system. Of the total votes cast, 12 ballot papers were considered invalid. The team consisting 25 Board members was elected on the basis of highest number of the votes secured.
The General Board Members elected Bhim Bastola as Chairman, Laxmi Rasaily as Vice Chairperson, Jhuma N Acharya as Secretary, Muna Acharya as Asst. Secretary and Durga Timsina as Treasurer for the next two years. Similarly, Tika Ram Rai as the head of Youth and Sports Committee, Arjun Rasaily as head of the Cultural and Religious Affairs, Mrs. Tika Adhikari as Head of Women Children and Senior Citizen Committee and Padma Puri as the Head of General Administration, Press and Publicity Committee. Each of the head of the permanent committee will have three to four members in their team. Per the provision mentioned in the by-laws of the BNCC, the executive committee will have two additional special executive Board members added to the team in the next meeting if felt necessary.
The newly elected Board members were congratulated by the Commission and were honored by the Bhutanese Khada.
BNCC is a not for profit community organization established in 2009, and have been officially secured 501(c)3 status in September 2014.
BNCC runs need based projects in the areas of health, education, culture, youth building and policing. With the self-help grant from ORR, BNCC is now housed in its own community resource center, with two case workers and a program manager.
According to Jhumanath Acharya, the secretary of BNCC, training twenty seven community members in first aid mental health and organizing health fair in partnership with Columbus public health were successful activities in 2015. BNCC also distributed four tons of fresh produce to the community in partnership with Ohio Food Bank. Thirty individuals got basic training on ways of policing at local Princeton of Columbus Police division. The employees of BNCC know the online reporting of any incident to the police, ensuring safety within the community.
BNCC and Vaidhik Welfare Society of Columbus jointly conducted a APIASF Scholarship seminar for the prospective college going students and around fifty-three high school students attended the seminar. Acharya further elaborates, “We also organize several awareness information session at the center related to Substance Abuse, drinking driving and cancer awareness where the local medical students for the Local University come and talk about these issues. We also constantly take part in the Ohio Refugee Advisory Council meeting to share the information about the progress in the community.”
Additionally, BNCC has been hosting several job fairs at the Community Center and through which many employers have trusted our community members and have been hiring them for their sincerity and hardworking .Every Monday and Friday, BNCC conducts the Citizenship and ESL classes partnering with Community Refugee and Immigration Services.
In a question on what may be current projects at hand, Acharya wrote back to BNS, ” we have close ties with Ohio State University to seek needed support in women empowerment and getting technica help for securing population data.” A professor of OSU will be running a women empowerment sessions at BNCC. DARE training and street smart training for youths are proposed. Small grant for funding the full-fledged Nepali class is being sought currently. Music and dance classes are running weekly. BNCC will be sending its soccer team to Seattle for participating inter-state soccer tournament.
Some constraints of working as community organization, as Jhumanath pointed out, are lack of population data, especially in city where lot of secondary migration is taking place. Also, it is much harder to reach out to service areas, to be in touch with the community people, and serve in better way as desired. “Settlement is spreading and population is booming”, he writes in email response to BNS.
Padam Puri from Columbus, OH contributed to this report.