The Bhutanese Community in Australia celebrated the Dashian-Tihar festival cum sixth anniversary of settlement on Oct. 18 at the Bethal Primary School in Meadow Heights in Melbourne.
The program has also seen the unification of Bhutanese Organisation in Australia and Bhutanese Association in Victoria to Bhutanese Community in Australia (BCA).
The program started with singing of Bhutanese and Australian National Anthem followed by spiritual blessing from Hindu priests and Buddhist monks from the community.
The Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission Mr Chin Tan said that Bhutanese community is the newest and smallest community and the government would support in all ways possible to as they resettle in Victoria.
He said, “It is very important that other Australian community know about the Bhutanese community which has not been known to many wider society as they have been only for less than six years in the country.”
“We are all Australian but keeping Bhutanese identity and preserving your own cultural and tradition should not be forgotten.”
While Frank McGuire, State Member of Parliament for Broadmeadows, said that the Australia he wanted to see is that equally belongs to all.
He came by boat to Australia as a young kid and grew up in the working class suburb of Broadmeadows and understands the difficulties faced my refugees when they are new to the country.
He said that Bhutanese community needed to be exposed to the wider society as a small but very progressive one and provide support they need.
He also expressed keen interest to develop a leadership program from the young Bhutanese leaders to see them taking main stage in the Australian society.
Inspector Lisa Herdsman Victoria Police mentioned that she only found of the Bhutanese community recently though they have been here for six years. “This means because they are not law violating community and are less visible in the eyes of police, and they are peaceful and progressive law-abiding community,” Lisa told.
Unlike in the previous years, the programs featured many innovative performances with much professional approach: first rap singer in with English and Nepali mix, variety of ethnic Nepali dances, Gajal and siloks, singers, Sanghini and Balan which are very unique and in the verge of left over by our younger generations.
The Kirat Society of Victoria from the Nepalese community also performed Chandi Nach with entertainment to young and old.
Jumping castle and face paint were organised for kids. Varieties of ethnic Bhutanese cuisine were cooked by the volunteers and catered for to all attendees and guests.
Meanwhile, the White Lady Funeral Company has made a surprise donation of $1,000 to the Bhutanese community.
When asked Tia Worrell why this donation was made, she said her company was surprised by seeing the unity of the Bhutanese community at difficult times.
According to her, there were many things Australian can learn from the Bhutanese, particularly their bond, friendship and support to the family when someone lost their member.
As a gratitude to the community’s strong bond her company has organised the fundraiser to support Bhutanese community.
Dhan Siwakoti coordinated the program with the support of army of young volunteers since last couple of months.
Ms Roshi Chhetri and Khem Khanal performed as MC of the program while Nanda Chhetri provided overview and achievement of the community in last six years where over 10 percent bought homes in Melbourne suburbs of Glenroy, Broadmeadows, Craigburn, Meadow heights, Dallas and Melton.
Geeta Bhattarai, a young girl resettled four years ago, delivered the welcome speech thanking the Australian government for resettling the Bhutanese refugees.
Some 500 people attended the program from Bhutanese, Nepalese communities, government agencies, and service provider and community organisations.