Documentary on Bhutanese Refugees screened in NZ.

(Oct. 28) The wretched story of the exiled Bhutanese has become a subject of a Nepali student’s documentary in New Zealand. Ritu Raj Sapkota, a scholarship Honors student at Wintec, Hamilton in New Zealand, has made a documentary about Bhutanese refugees.

Sapkota, a son of Nepali father and Bhutanese mother saw many of his relatives become refugees as most of his extended families and relatives were housed in miserable dwellings even though his immediate family was spared the refugee camps in eastern Nepal. He had a closer look upon this devastating suffering undergone by the Bhutanese thus. Plus,His mother became involved in education provision in the camp which the family lived close to. These were enough of the things that gave rise to cravings in him to depict their real stories in his documentary.

As a student of mass communication at Loyola College , Hyderabad in India, he started his documentary on this subject. Despite his repeated attempts to interact with refugees with a view to collecting real elements for his report, he could collect just a little not enough to be capsulized into his plot. As he interviewed people of different age levels, talked to children and young people he learned their aspirations for future. His attempts for further learning in this mater were debarred by the officials who were supposed to be at the services of refugees.

Sapkota says the dismal story of human rights violations like crimes against women, suppression of the freedom of speech and many among others, are a less-heard in the outside world because free media and international organizations were not allowed in Bhutan. He says, “Because of the absence of media and international organisations in Bhutan at the time, few of the large scale human rights violations and crimes against women were reported.”

When the news of the resettlement of the Bhutanese refugees in seven different countries aired though media, he became quite hopeful that his investments will bring him some rewards. Further, he got opportunity to extend his learning in mass communication in New Zealand through scholarship scheme.

In his own words his conscience towards this cause is quite obvious as he notes, “In late 2005 however, the United States announced it would resettle a majority of the refugees. Other countries also volunteered to take in small numbers. I continued my documentary filming and in 2008 I was given the opportunity to study at Wintec’s School of Media Arts on a scholarship so I’ve continued to interview Bhutanese refugees who have been resettled in New Zealand”. Now in NZ, he has ample chances of meeting and talking to resettled Bhutanese face to face collecting what ought to be the real contents of his creation. This documentary will be screened for the first time on 24th of October, 2009 in Gallagher Hub on Wintec’s city campus.

New Zealand is now home for some 200 Bhutanese uprooted from their motherland in the late 80s.
(Information and our correspondents in Australia)

3 Responses

  1. I am pleasantly surprised to find this here. Thank you very much for posting the same. I however, need a favor from the community. If you open the link to the event on facebook (, you will notice a poster for the event. I am not sure where the little girl in the poster is, and I would like to have her ocnsent before the screening. As far as I remember, her name is Kamala and she lived in Goldhap.

    Do let me know if you have any news about her whereabouts

    Warm regards and Many thanks

  2. So glad to hear this awesome news. We all are proud of you mama.

  3. i would love to see that documentary. is that documentary uploaded in youtube?can u please ask him to uload it in youtube?
    thank u

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