The community center will serve to create a drug-free and peaceful community, provide job-skill training for employability, will help to integrate communities into mainstream American society, to produce productive and responsible citizens, and to educate and foster its cultural values. Provide
space for social and spiritual congregation.
Who we are
The City of Des Moines, Iowa has become home for more than 5500 refugees from Bhutan since 2008, with more arriving every year. These refugees suffered ethnic cleansing in their homeland of Bhutan in the 1980s, later to spend 20 years in UNHCR refugee camps in Nepal. Since being approved for resettlement, more than 92,000 Bhutanese refugees have made the United States their new home-a second chance to build new lives, livelihoods, and communities.
Although these refugees were already scarred by the trauma of ethnic cleansing and refugee-camp life, their transition to a culturally disparate home has brought many more obstacles and challenges. Most notably, there is the challenge of retaining their cultural identity, moral values, and religious practices.
The younger generation plunged into the American culture and lifestyle, leaving the elderly and those with language barriers at home, thereby causing social isolation, psychological insecurity, family disintegration, and mental-health issues. The suicide rate among the Bhutanese refugee communities is well more than the national average. Legal, social, and safety issues are mounting due to the collapse of the social fabric.
To meet these challenges, a team of active volunteers have been working tirelessly since 2016 under the auspices of the Hindu Cultural and Educational Center (HCEC), a nonprofit that is registered with the state of Iowa.
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