Senior Bhutanese leaders, members of the camp management committee and the commoners bid a formal good-bye to Father Verky,the field director of Damak branch of Caritas Nepal in Damak at a farewell function. Chaired by Bishop Anthony Sharma,chairman of Caritas Nepal, the program also welcome Father Amal Raj S.J as the new field director of Caritas sub office, Damak,Jhapa. Fr. Amal Raj is holding this position for the second time now as he already has served Bhutanese refugee community as a field director of Caritas Nepal sub-office, Damak for years in the past.
Dr. Bhumpa Rai,chairman of the Bhutanese refugee repatriation representative committee, Rajman Gurung, Chairman of the Gurkha Liberation Front,camp secretaries T.B Gurung(Bel-I),Bhanu Dhungana(Khudunabari camp) and Dilliram Adhikari(Timai) were among the distinguished Bhutanese leaders attending the farewell program. Speakers at the program thanked the out going director and appealed Caritas Nepal for continued service.
‘Regardless of the journey refugees make, CARITAS will continue its enriching programs for refugee children at camps’, Verky said at the function. Verky, stressing the need and importance of education to refugees, requested all refugees to lay continuous attention to education. He also mentioned the worsening status of education at camps because of the resettlement program and the out-flow of the experienced and educated teachers to third countries therefore.
Refugee schools, refugee communities, members of the refugee affected areas and different NGOs and INGOs dedicated in the services of the refugees bid adieu to the director as he is scheduled to leave Damak, Saturday for Jaipur, Rajasthan in India.
Facilitating education for refugees at camps for 19 years now, CARITAS has been working jointly with other national and international agencies to make necessary arrangements for fostering the educational needs of the Bhutanese.
Meanwhile, at this farewell program, Bhutanese Refugee Youth Friendly Centre announced the formal launching of an audio cassettee named ‘Samjhauta’ comprising voice, lyrics and music of the refugees from seven different camps. This audio piece serves as a garland into which geniuses of the refugee youths have been interwoven. YFC has been at its services to address the problems of youths in camps and to preserve and maintain the culture, art and the literature of the southern Bhutanese of Nepalese origin. Also it sponsors and organizes the various awareness programs that best see the involvement of the refugee youths.
‘The release of ‘Samjhauta’ depicts the present environment of camps and the creative elements deep hidden in our youths at camps’ maintained the program director father Peter Jong Lepcha.
Refugee youths presented songs of satisfying taste, extended their gratitudes and expressed their feelings at the out-going director Parakettee while welcoming the new director father Amalraj S. J. as the new person to direct education at camp.
The program ended with president Bishop Antony Sharma of Caritas Nepal welcoming new field director father Amalraj S.J. And waiving reluctant hands for the out-going field director father Verky Parakette.
Formed officially on 3rd September 1989, Caritas Nepal has been assisting the Bhutanese refugee providing educational and vocational skills,since the early 1992 when these Lotshampas settled in UNHCR administered refugee camps in eastern Nepal following the mass revolution in Bhutan.
For the CARITAS family, one of the major events of the year was a comprehensive evaluation of BREP undertaken by Satyal Publication
Teacher Training Unit, Kathmandu. The evaluation report was released in November 2007. In the mean time, Caritas Nepal continued its partnership with UNHCR in implementing Bhutanese Refugee Education Program (BREP) for a
straight 15th year. As in the previous years, the formal education and other educational related activities in the camps were managed by Caritas Nepal Sub- Office, Damak. The Sub-office’s efforts were ably led by 6 Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) staff and 11 national staff and 30 refugee support staff with the involvement of over 1,242 refugee staff in the field.
(Information and photo courtesy: newsofexile.blogspot.com)
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