KN Pokhrel, who was resettled in the United Kingdom on August 9 this year in the first lot of the third country resettlement to England, said that life in Manchester is getting bit getting accustomed to live in a different environment. Like other resettlement countries, the United Kingdom is also challenging for the exiled Bhutanese, who have reached there to begin new life. However, he expressed that his resettlement didn’t go as per the destination map given by the IOM. In an interview with Ramesh Gautam of Bhutan News Service from Norway, Pokhrel commented that they were supposed to be resettled in Manchester City under Greater Manchester but the things went different and were settled in different towns under Greater Manchester region.
BNS: You have been resettled in the UK lately. How is the living there?
It was difficult in the beginning. Many Bhutanese have been resettled here subsequently in three phases. The people, who have come here in the latest phase, still experience hardships while those who were resettled earlier are getting accustomed to live in a different environment.
BNS: Do all the people resettled there live within the periphery of Manchester City?
It did not go as per the destination map given by the IOM (International Organization for Migration). We were supposed to be resettled in Manchester City under Greater Manchester but the things went different and we are settled in different towns under Greater Manchester region.
BNS: If so, is it not possible for the people to meet each other?
It’s not that people do not meet but we are settled in a distance of one to two driving hours. So, it is not as easy as we think of it.
BNS: Can you tell us about the accommodation? How do recently resettled refugees live, in apartments, houses, or?
People have been settled in six different towns. As such they are being looked upon by respective Councils and they have been given the houses owned by these Councils. Some are apartments while others are houses.
BNS: If so, people are not settled in transit centers in UK.
No, not in transit centers.
BNS: Most of the people accepted for resettlement by different European countries are believed to be the people who need social support and are resettled in welfare states. What sort of support and benefits do people resettled in UK get?
What we get from the UK Government currently is the general support. For example, we are three members in my family. We, the couple, get 102 Pounds for a week while our daughter receives 75 Pounds. All the expanses like for food, water, electricity, gas, transport etc. are to be met with the same amount we get.
BNS: In other three European countries, refuges are taken to the introductory program so as to learn the language. How is it for the people resettled there?
Refugee Action has been guiding the refugees who have come to the UK. It assists us to get admitted to colleges in order to learn the language.
BNS: Resettlement in itself is an opportunity. In the same time, there are challenges too. What challenges, you assume, are ahead?
For sure, there are challenges but we will be able to do nothing if we get pulled down. If we tackle the challenges, I hope of the brighter future. The certificates of the academic Degrees one has from Nepal are hardly accounted here. One needs to document his ability. After getting through the entrance exam in a university or college, one may get admitted.
BNS:How is it about job? No one is employed in the beginning. How will it be in future?
It is compulsory that one has the knowledge of English for any sort of job opportunities. After learning the language, I am hopeful that we will be able to find a job.
BNS:You all participated in a joint Dashain-Tihar celebration before Tihar. That was done just after your resettlement. How did you conduct the program?
There are many Bhutanese who have made the UK as destination long before the start of refugee resettlement. Bhutanese people have been resettled in three different phases and the resettled Bhutanese had not met each other. This program was organized as a Get Together and Special Function on the occasion of Dashain and Tihar-2067. The program was organized by the Bhutanese living here from before with the assistance of Refugee Action.
BNS: It was learnt that a Collective Teeka Ceremony was organized there. Were you also present?
Yes. We all were invited by T N Niraula from Aston for the Collective Teeka Ceremony.
BNS:Do you expect that these sorts of program will help in developing a feeling of togetherness among the resettled Bhutanese there?
First of all, it is an introductory program. All the resettled Bhutanese people had not met those who were living here from before. Secondly, we expect that this program will be a milestone for future coordination among the Bhutanese here.