The Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio (BCCO) is a community-based non-profit organization founded in 2009. It became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2012. The BCCO is dedicated to helping the newly resettled Bhutanese refugee population. along with those new Bhutanese Americans who have been in the U.S. for several years. We are a vibrant, open, and very diverse community. The Bhutanese community encompasses different religions, languages, experiences and sub-cultural groups within itself.
The BCCO offers post-resettlement direct services to recently arrived refugees from Bhutan and a small number from other countries, as well as ongoing programming, classes, events, activities, mentoring and leadership to the broader refugee community to help strengthen their transition into their new home. The majority of our clients are referred to the BCCO from resettlement agencies like the Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) after their 90-day initial resettlement period, as well as from the Franklin County Office of Job and Family Services, other social service agencies, local schools, and hospitals. The BCCO wants to build a relationship with other communities through cultural exchange, language and learning, and through partnership building.
As proud Bhutanese-American citizens, we aspire to become part of the mainstream culture and contribute much to Ohio and America, while at the same time preserving our cultural values, language, and traditions.
It is estimated that up to 30,000 Bhutanese-Nepali individuals have settled here in the Greater Columbus area through secondary migration and primary migration since 2008. This is the largest concentration of Bhutanese-Americans now found outside of the country of Bhutan.
These former refugees have found a welcoming home in Central Ohio, where they can pursue the opportunities and freedoms of America, work hard and contribute, strive to buy an affordable home, earn a college degree, build a more prosperous future for themselves and their families, and be part of a growing supportive Bhutanese American Community, with the BCCO as a trusted anchor.
Our mission is to serve community members -- Bhutanese Community Residing in Central Ohio -- with culturally appropriate social services and empower them through education and advocacy.
BCCO case manager Soma Thapa helps a blind client with forms.
Celebrations of culture and empowerment through community programs and civic engagement are hallmarks of BCCO's important work.
Our story . . . an american story
The Nepali-speaking Bhutanese became the victims of the ethnic cleansing policy and actions in the 1980s by the Monarchy of Bhutan. Bhutan introduced “one nation one people” policy in 1985 which was designed to erase the cultural, religious, and linguistic heritage of the people of southern Bhutan who are minority Hindus in a majority Buddhist nation.
More than 100,000 people --including children, families and the elderly -- who were deemed unworthy under the Monarchy's new oppressive policy were physically forced off the same land where their families had spent and worked for more than five generations. Many were physically intimidated, and some were tortured and imprisoned. Tragically, others simply disappeared, as part of the Monarchy's eradication efforts.