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New Arrivals: Bhutanese Refugees


I found myself in the same boat as many educators a few weeks ago when I embarked on a quest to learn about Bhutanese refugees, a new wave of immigrants arriving in the United States. I had to start from scratch.

Here are a few of the basics: Bhutan is a small country wedged between India and China. It has been the home to different ethnic groups, including the refugees, who lived in Bhutan for generations and retained their Nepalese language and culture. The refugees say they were forced out of the country by discriminatory policies that made it difficult for them to legally live and work there, though the Bhutanese government says they left the country voluntarily. The Bhutanese refugees who just started to arrive in the United States have been living in refugee camps in Nepal for about 16 years. Tens of thousands are expected to arrive over the next five years.

I tell more about what I learned in "Schools Brace for Bhutanese Wave," published this week in Education Week. I found out, for instance, that I can keep track of the new groups of refugees arriving in the United States through the Cultural Orientation Resource Center of the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics.


I'd love to meet them. Unfortunately, refugee resettlement doesn't send them our way. They usually come a few years later after escaping the inner city no richer than they were before but a lot more knowledgeable about the area.

I came across this post within days of reading a recent issue of National Geographic. The article on Bhutan and the Bhutanese people was enlightening to me so I thought I would share. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/bhutan/larmer-text
Thanks for posting on such an important and relevant topic for teachers to learn about today.

Hello! I recently returned from Bhutan and loved it! Does anyone know of a Dzongka text for beginners? I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,
Nancy Wright

Nancy Wright,

Did you try this one.


YOu want to learn from aperson who knows Dzonkha or in the internet. If you want to learn from someone who knows it than it would be no other than me,
D Rose

Nancy and others!

I'm sorry, but you don't get it!! This story started as an article about "New Arrivals: Bhutanese Refugees". Bhutanese refugees were evicted from Bhutan. Their native language has always been Nepali! The Dzonkha language was forced upon them in Bhutan. They resent it!! Take your thoughts about learning Dzonkha to another forum - stay away from Bhutanese refugees!

thank you for you information. I volunteer in the Dallas Ft Worth area and have also noticed the influx. What do you feel is the best way to help them, speak some Nepali or use translators or help them to learn English. We have a large Nepali population here. I am learning to speak Hindi but a question I have is what percentage to you think will speak Hindi, the Indian language often spoken by Nepalis. Of the 27 Bhutanese/Nepali refugees I have been working with 3-5 know some Hindi. Just wondering the best language approach. You thoughts are much appreicated.

i am involved with the bhutanese families in dallas,, if you are interested in finding out additional info give me a call or email

[email protected]
817 320 9625

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