July 26, Des Moines, Iowa
The Association of Bhutanese in America (ABA) held its 8th annual convention July 25 and 26 in Des Moines, Iowa. The convention was hosted by members of the Bhutanese community of Des Moines and attended by resettled folks in Iowa and nearby states.
Various guests addressing the convention, included San Wong, Director of Iowa Department of Human Rights; Sanjita Pradhan, Member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian and Pacific Islanders; Samantha Lee Thomas, Director of Global Arts Therapy in Des Moines; Zeljka Krvavica, Director of the Bureau of Refugee Service; Dilip Biswa, a Bhutanese human rights activists; Parmananda Khatiwoda of Bhutanese Community of Minnesota and Mangala Sharma, a longtime woman activist in Minnesota.
Lourdes Stevenson and Lara Hanson of Primary Health Clinic in Des Moines, Rekha Basu of Des Moines Register, Nicholas Wuertz of Lutheran Service in Iowa, and Rohey Sallas of USCRI also attended the two day session of discussion on issues facing immigrants and refugees, focusing on resettlement of Bhutanese refugees.
Parangkush Subedi from the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Division of Refugee Health and Dr. Chhabi Lal Timsina provided very helpful sessions on facets of mental health situation across all ages of Bhutanese refugees resettled in the US.
Aaron Acharya, a volunteer trainer for ABA provided a training on organizational development focused on the ethics, culture and philosophy of nonprofit organizations and the systems and structures required to develop an effective community organization.
A representative of Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) shared an informational sessions focusing on its success stories and the challenges faced during the initial establishment as community organization.
The convention was interspersed by cultural programs presented by the youth and children of the Bhutanese community and Mahesh Budathoki, a Nepali folk singer. A movie named ‘Desh Khojdai Jaanda’ was also screened. A musical video, Maya by Manish Adhikari was also launched during the convention with a live song by its vocalist, Kiran Gajmer.
A raffle was drawn to raise funds for the convention. The winning numbers were 783709 in the first place, 783367 in the second place and 783670 in the third place.