Bhutanese Community in The Netherlands (BCN) has successfully organised a grand 10th year anniversary of The Bhutanese Refugees Resettlement in The Netherlands on 18th February 2019 at a Party Centre Hall in Amstelveen, a Dutch City nearby Amsterdam.
The program which was jointly hosted by Mrs. Kabina Khadka, Mr. Gopal Gurung, Mr. Pralad Chhetri and Mr. Chandra Chhetri started as scheduled from 1400 hours was officially opened jointly by the Chief Guest, Program Chairman and Special Guest by pulling the curtain of the program poster. One minute silence was observed in memory of all those community members who left us for heavenly abode during the course of their 10 years in The Netherlands.
Mr. Gopal Gurung informed everybody about the inability of BCN General Secretary Mr. Amber Singh Subba to make his presence in the program because of the untimely demise of his beloved sister in law in Nepal. Onbehalf of BCN he extended his heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved family members and wished the departed soul rest in eternal peace.
Mr. Ram Karki, President of BCN during his welcome speech spoke about the background of the Bhutanese Refugees and highlighted about the major objectives of organizing this event in such a grand manner. In his welcome speech Mr. Karki outlined the following major objectives for organizing this event:-
- To remember the past pre resettlement days together.
- To review the life post resettlement both positive and negative.
- To express thanks and gratefulness to all those who helped post resettlement for the smooth settlement of our community.
- To celebrate together the successful completion of 10 years in The Netherlands.
- To remember those fellow resettled Bhutanese whom we lost forever during the span of 10 years in The Netherlands.
- To educate our younger generation about our past history and common background.
- To act as a platform to send messages to the Dutch Community about the uniqueness of Bhutanese Refugees and their hard working nature.
- To encourage our community members to work hard and progress in various fields.
- To attract Dutch Medias coverage and bring awareness among the locals about the existence of Bhutanese Refugees in The Netherlands.
- To provide a platform for performing cultural programs for our younger generation.
- To express our gratefulness and thankfulness to Nepali People and Nepali Government for providing us shelter and everything for more then 2 decades of our living in the camps in eastern Nepal.
- To show our loyalty and sincerity towards our new country, The Netherlands and to use this platform to send gratitude and gratefulness to the Dutch government and people for being so generous to bring us here and making their own citizens.
Mr. Karki welcomed everybody in the program and wishes them a very enjoyable and interesting evening ahead.
Noted Dutch Novelist Alice Verheij speaking as a guest speaker highlighted about her personnel experiences in the various refugee camps in eastern Nepal during her several visit there. She described in details about the situation of Bhutanese Refugees camp aftermath the massive fire incidents there. “I did my best to bring this lesser known humanitarian crisis into the limelight through mainstream medias in the West through writing, exhibitions, talk programs, social medias etc” said Verheij. She further spoke about her association with the Bhutanese Community in The Netherlands, who are very honest and hard working people. Concluding her speech she expressed her happiness towards the presence of Bhutanese Refugee Community in The Netherlands and wished them further success in the days to come as well.
Dr. Rieki Crins, a noted cultural anthropologist and an expert on Bhutan who also lectures at Oxford and several other universities while speaking on the occasion described her long association with Bhutan. She described in detail about her work in Bhutan after she completed her PhD there. “I was terribly shocked to hear about the stateless situation of lhosampas community during my interaction with them on several instances and their difficulties in getting jobs without ID cards and No Objection certificates,” said Dr. Rieki. She further said that she did her best to employ as many lhosampas stateless youths as possible in her hotel school and that might antagonise the high command in Bhutan in the beginning. “Thousands of lhosampas people whose id cards were confiscated approaches the king every year in the hope of getting King’s sympathy to restore their citizenship but i did not hear any positive results to their prayers from the king” said Dr. Rieki. She further added “My impression on Bhutan and its king changed slowly and later I started feeling that there is terribly wrong in this country and the people are too afraid to talk about their difficulties. The issue of Bhutanese Refugees were seldom discussed or talked in Bhutan and later I understood that there is a law which allows the king to sanction life imprisonment to anyone who talks of the refugee or related issues. Instead of honoring me for my long social work and help to Bhutan and its people I was blacklisted and prohibited me from entering the country in 2016. I invested a huge sum of money in my hotel school there but everything went astray thus I recently published a book named blacklisted in Bhutan based on my experiences in Bhutan.”
Concluding her speech Dr. Rieki expressed her gratefulness to BCN for inviting her in the program and letting her speak her mind. She told that she is really proud to have Bhutanese refugee in The Netherlands who are so nicely integrated in the society. Later she posted the following message on her facebook status:Rieki Crins shared a live video. February 19 at 9:01 AM.
BHUTANESE COMMUNITY IN THE NETHERLANDS. 10 YEARS RESETTLEMENT CELEBRATION.
Wonderful day with the Dutch Southern Bhutanese refugee community, I was received with so much warmth. Thank you Ram Karki and all the wonderful people that were so warm and grateful to the Netherlands. We are happy you are here in the Netherlands.
Another speaker a very prominent figure from the Netherlands based Nepali Community and a close friend of Bhutanese Community Mr. Shashi Paudyal spoke about his initial impression of the community members and expressed his happiness about the rapid development of the Bhutanese Community members living in The Netherlands. He further extended his best wishes for the further progress and happiness of the community.
Messages of congratulations and best wishes were received from Ms. Sadet Karabulut, Dutch Member of Parliament, Mr. Mohan Gautam, Chairman of Bhummats from Australia, Mr. Tejan Tiwari, President of Association of Bhutanese Communities in Denmark, Mr. Bhakta Subba from Belgium and DP Kafley from Canada. BCN Central Member Mr. Gopal Gurung read and shown all those messages to the audience from the stage.
BCN extended its gratefulness to all the Dutch Community members and representatives from various national as well as international agencies who helped the resettled Bhutanese for the successfully integrating in the dutch society. It honored all those supporters who were present on the occasion by offering khadas and a token of love for their generous support to our community.
A renowned Bhutanese religious leader Pastor Dawa Tamang while speaking on the occasion congratulated all the fellow Bhutanese resettled members for successfully crossing 10 years of their living in The Netherlands and wished them best wishes for their prosperity and happiness in the days ahead.
The personnel story narrated by our senior community member Mr. Devi Charan Basnet (Shabdung) describing his life in Bhutan, Nepal and The Netherlands made the hall emotional and has touched the heart of all the audience. Dutch Community audience were seen with tears on their eyes when Mr. basnet was narrating his story from his mind.
Numerous artists from Bhutanese Community Mr. Mohan Kumar Rai, Mr. Surja Bhandari, Mrs. Kabina Khadka, Ms. Bishnu Khadka, Ms. Priyanka Chhetri, Ms. Dikshya Chhetri, Ms. Pranita Chhetri, Ms. Ahana Sharma as well as artists from International Nepali Artist Society (INAS) Ms. Sarita Humagai, Ms. Chandana Khadka and Ms. Sagun Gurung performed their exceptionally wonderful dances and songs and entertained the audiences. BCN would like to thank all of them for their very active and attractive performances.
Many eminent Nepali Community leaders including NRNA Netherlands president Mr. Manohari Sharma, Mr. Himal Gurung, Mr. Premjang Gurung, Mr. Prem Singh Gurung, Mr. Tika Pun, Mr. Janga Pun spoke on the occasion and extended best wishes and congratulations to the Bhutanese Community members for successfully crossing 10 years in The Netherlands.
Chief Guest Mr. Prem Giri, Chairman of Bhutanese Welfare Association in United Kingdom and Special Guest Mrs. Ariette Prince Hekman, former official of Dutch Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers extended their best wishes to the community members.
Chairman of the entire program Mr. Aiman Samal, BCN founding member during his vote of thanks speech extended thanks to all the distinguished guests speakers, representatives from IOM and head of various Netherlands based Nepali organisations, members of the Dutch community, Bhutanese Community Members, Nepali Community Members, BCN CC members, artists and all volunteers for their perfect coordination for the success of the program. He also extended his thanks to BWA President Mr. Prem Giri and its Program Director Mr. Khada Nanda Pokhrel for accepting BCN’s invitation and gracing the program. Both of them were later felicitated with khadas and a token of love.
Tranditional cuisines from the lhosampas community like that of Sel Roti, Mutton Curry, Chicken Curry, Tandoori Chicken Wings, Aloo Gobi, Paneer Matar, Dal Makhani, varieties of Achar, Basmati Rice, Kheer, Salade were served which were prepared by our community members like Arjun Karki and family , Khada Ghimire and family, Birkha Majhi and family, Pralad Chhetri and family, Raju Chhetri and family, Ram Karki and Family, Aiman Samal and family, JB Gurung and family, Chandra Thapa and family, Dasharath Bastola and Family, Mrs. Suchita Gurung and family. Cold drinks and serving plates and utensils were arranged by our community members Mr. Gopal Gurung and Mr. Bhakta Khadka family. BCN would like to thanks all of them for their hard work and making very delicious dishes.
For the entire program period our volunteers remained very alert and done everything to make the arrangement correct and up to date. BCN would like to thank Mr. Birkha Majhi, Mr. Chandra Chhetri, Mr. Shyam Gurung, Mr. Saroj Rai, Mr. Ajay Basnet, Mrs. Devi Chhetri, Mrs. Santoshi Samal, Mr. T.B. Chhetri, Mr. Arjun Chhetri, Mr. Khada Ghimire, Mr. Chandra Thapa, Mrs. Ran Maya Majhi, Mrs. Sheela Thapa, Mrs. Jamuna Bastola, Mr. Satya Pandey, Mr. Raju Tamu, Mrs. Bindu Gurung, Mrs. Dimple Gurung, Mr. Asish Basnet, Mr. Raj Gurung, Mr. Prakash Gurung, Mrs. Devi Chhetri, Mrs. Krishna Basnet, Mrs. Santi Chhetri, Mrs. Krishna Maya Gurung, Mr. Devi Charan Basnet, Mr. Janga Pun, Geeta Bastola, Khem Raj Bastola and Arjun Kunuwar and many others for their very active coordination in every aspects as volunteers.
BCN would like to extend its thanks to its Coordinator Mr. Raju Chhetri, and its team members Mr. Chandra Chhetri, Mr. Ajay Basnet and Mr. Saroj Rai for arranging and managing hall and sound system during the entire period of the program. They have done an exceptionally wonderful job.
BCN would like to extend its thanks to all its Central Committee Members for their close cooperation during the entire period of the program preparation and their generous contribution. General Secretary Mr. Amber Singh Subba, Vice President Mr. Bhakta Khadka, Founding Member Mr. Aiman Samal, Coordinator Mr. Raju Chhetri and Central Member Mr. Gopal Gurung made their untiring effort to compose, plan and prepare the program since its early phase of planning. Special thanks goes to BCN General Secretary Mr. Amber Singh Subba for closely monitoring, advising and enquiring us about our preparation amidst his sad situation at home due to the untimely demise of his beloved bhauju in Nepal. His absence in the program was badly felt.
More then 300 people including Nepalese and Dutch Community members were present on the program which made it a grand event. Our objectives mentioned above from the program was almost realised.
The program ended with a massive DJ event which lasted till 22:00 hours.