Bhutanesen in Perth COVID-19 Response Group

1. Bhutanese in Perth COVID-19 Response Group Members

  1. Khandu Nakhap, Co-Lead Coordinator of Drukpa Australia (as Chairperson)
  2. Karma Wangchuk (as Member Secretary)
  3. Karma Choden (as Interim President of the ABPI)
  4. Dr. Sonam Pelden
  5. Deki Choden Dorji
  6. Deki Choden, representing the new comer students in Perth
  7. Ugyen Choda, representing the new comer students in Perth
  8. Shari Dophu, Treasury of ABPI
  9. Namgay, President of Kharchu Centre Perth
  10. Tshering Samdrup, President of Dhayana Zhi Tshok Perth
  11. Kuenzang Wangdi
  12. Sangay Dorji, President of Larung Dewachen & Executive member of ABPI
  13. Chimi Tshewang, Executive member of ABPI
  14. Pema Namgay

2. Bhutanese in Perth COVID-19 Response Group

In view of the escalating crisis of COVID-19 in Australia and its spiralling affect on the Australian economy and the Bhutanese Community in Perth, the Association for Bhutanese in Perth Incorporated (ABPI) has called on few of its members to establish a COVID-19 Response Group. The 14-member group consists of four ABPI executives and eleven members representing the Bhutanese community in Perth and Western Australia.

Initially formed only as an advisory group, the COVID-19 Response Group will now work in close collaboration with the ABPI Executive Committee to reach out to the Bhutanese Community across Western Australia, develop strategic plans and execute them carefully to ensure our community is safe, calm and happy. In doing so, the group will develop action plans to address the spiral affects of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and general wel-being of all Bhutanese living in Western Australia including, public safety, panic, loss of income, inability to meet study requirements, rental payments, & study fees, among others. 

3. Strategy & Plan

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand across the community, the fear of COVID-19 escalation has lead to the government shutting down of all national and state borders, workforce is being reduced to mere essential, public gathering and family get-togethers are being kept to minimum, and a physical distancing of 1.5 meters within each indivuals are being introduced. The temporary shutdown of businesses and border closings, in particular, have brought enormous strain into our community, with immediate loss of jobs and family incomes directly affecting our sustainability in a foreign land. To this effect, the group, has developed the following strategies:

  1. Understand individual reactions and assess how COVID-19 crisis is having on the community through collection of individual responses through an online one-time survey starting from Monday, 30 March to Thursday, 02 April 2020;
  2. Study the survey results to understand the broad public sentiments and their reaction to this COVID-19 pandemic, impacts on various community groups and visa holders, and review the broad suggestions and recommendations in mitigating the immediate affects on the community members;
  3. Discuss and develop action plans to (i) centralise public information delivery to reduce community anxiety and panic, (ii) devise strategies to assist the affected groups within the community, and where possible, (iii) seek funds from private and government sources for delivery to the affected members of the Bhutanese community;
  4. Liase with the ABPI executives for delivery of community information, planning & development of interim services such as counselling, academic & cultural programmes to be run through online services, and coordination with the Royal Bhutan Embassy in Bangkok for government support;
  5. Devise suggestions and recommendations to the Australian Government and educational institutions across Western Australia on the impact COVID-19 pandemic on our Bhutanese community, in particular, to our students and their family members; and
  6. Devise suggestions and recommendations to Bhutanese Government through ABPI on impact covid-19 is having on the community members.

4. Working by the minutes

5. Next Steps

In working through this crisis period, the Response group will be acting on the following items in the next couple of weeks.

  1. Letters to be education institions after Easter Break addressing the conerns of Bhutanese Students in Perth and Wesetrn Australia
  2. Letters requesting for community grants to be sent to Lotterywest and other relevant government branches
  3. Address our community concern to the Premier and seeking possible support for our community organisation
  4. Finalise the chartered flight to Bhutan in collaboration with RBE. The process is almost finalised by submitting the final namelist to the Embassy.
  5. ABPI is finalising available budget for COVID-19 response and open a separate account to manage the COVID-19 Response Fund.
  6. ABPI & COVID-19 response group to roll out financial support to affected community members

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