Little role, big purpose

The conference delegates

Integration into a new land and strange system of civic life is certainly a challenging choice to make.  Immigration to US is definitely not simply a dream to keep but also a complex conundrum of hopes, despair, frustration and even nostalgic vividness.  Yet, for refugees, it is a choice often not determined by themselves, rather an enticed culmination of reluctant hope.

Bhutanese refugees have been making progress in US and they are, in general, considered to be hard working for the labor market of US.

Meantime, there are community organizations in almost all states, trying to help the resettling Bhutanese in understanding the resettlement process and the daily life in US, making people self-sufficient.

Hari P Niroula and Dewaki Subedi, among those community workers, had a chance to attend the fifth national immigration conference in Baltimore, MD.

Hari took a paid leave from his employer to attend the conference all the way from Washington to Maryland. The conference met September 22 to September 25.

The conference opened up with tribal and Indian cultural show, having chief guest as Lieutenant governor of Maryland, Anthony Brown.

The conference delegates

The conference speakers mainly tried to put emphasis on the role of community organization network to help integrate the new comers.

The break- out sessions on third day of the conference discussed about the value of refugee experience for smooth integration, the understanding of citizenship laws and civil rights in US, citizenship classes for refugees-to-be –citizens, consideration of the anti-refugee sentiments among the native Americans etc.

On the fourth day, the topic was Civil Rights.  Tom Pervez, Assistant attorney general spoke about defending the civil rights by federal government.

Hari Niroula who works with case management of multiple families of Bhutanese community hopes to share the ideas he gathered in the conference, and he is confident about the usefulness of those discussions.

While Bhutanese refugees have a long way to go for the successful integration, such conferences are of paramount importance to foster a better understanding on resettlement issues for community volunteers and case managers like Hari Niroula.