THE BCCO BRAVELY RESPONDS TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The COVID-19 public health pandemic has hit low-income, minority communities with the greatest force. Perhaps no minority community is more vulnerable to the devastating effects of this deadly virus than refugees and immigrants, the majority of whom work paycheck to paycheck as laborers, struggle to navigate the health, education and social services systems even in non-pandemic times, and may not be receiving quality health care and COVID-19 prevention information due to language, literacy, and other barriers.
Given the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio’s critical trusted role in serving this growing population, we knew we had to respond quickly and address this immediate health, social and economic emergency as it began to roar through our communities. In March 2020, we led a major effort to create theBhutanese Response Assistance Volunteer Effort (BRAVE) volunteer network led by our BCCO team, which has been a go-to resource for families in need of COVID-19 screenings and testing, educational materials, PPE and other essential supplies, food, medicine, economic stabilization support, and vaccines in Columbus and Franklin County.
These efforts played a huge part in our collective ability to ease the burden of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities in Central Ohio, and they continue today in the BCCO’s work with community partners to expand vaccine access and delivery to refugees and immigrants.
As the home base of the nation’s largest Bhutanese-Nepali refugee resettled population, the BCCO provided the BRAVE model, technology and resources during the early days of the pandemic with leaders from organizations which serve refugee communities, helping to lessen the destruction from COVID-19 in other regions. The program has been adopted and is in use in Cleveland, Akron, Cincinnati, Nashville and Pittsburgh.
The BCCO's nationally recognized BRAVE COVID-19 response is making a difference and is serving hundreds of families in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio and beyond.
MEDIA COVERAGE The BCCO and BRAVE initiative continues to provide critical support and stability for families struggling to access quality culturally appropriate information and services on the spreading COVID-19 virus pandemic. Some media coverage of the BCCO as it works to combat the virus:
The Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio BCCO) partnered with nebham, a software company in cleveland, to develop a culturally appropriate mobile app to allow community members to request services, ask questions and receive needed PPE, groceries, medicine, accurate health care information, testing, and vaccines related to coviD-19.
The app also is used for volunteer sign-ups, and for the brave volunteers in the network to respond quickly to requests and needs, and coordinate action.
PPE distribution at the BCCO Center on August 26, 2020, combined with Census and Voting education information. More than 125 individuals from the community were provided masks, hand sanitizers, groceries, milk and COVID-19 educational materials.