Dear Bhutanese in Perth,
In our continuing efforts to assist our Community in Perth & WA affected by COVID-19 situation, the Bhutanese in Perth Covid-19 Response Group in collaboration with the ABPI Committee have made a significant progress. From this pandemic, we understood that our community have come together than ever before (esp in the first few weeks in March), members have grown more resilient towards economic lumps, and are equally concerned and willing to support each other in a foreign land. We remain very thankful to each and everyone for this.
We are pleased to share that since the formation of the Group in late March, we were able to fulfil the following:
  1. Worked out a solution along with the Royal Government through Royal Bhutanaese Embassy in Bangkok to air lift Bhutanese wanting to travel to Bhutan.
  2. Approached different educational institutions and share the issues faced by Bhutanese students and families. Proposals were also submitted for their reviews.
  3. Closely working with the Australian Government through Hon’ble Senator Dean Smith, Janine Freeman, Department of Social Service (Home Affairs), and Lottery West to submit issues faced by Bhutanese in Perth. We would like to thank Senator Dean Smith and Department of Social Service for their help and assistance.
  4. As of date, we understand that around 200 members are still seeking financial assistance. Of this, we were only able to offer financial assistance to 5 people who we believe are at risk.
  5. With an estimated budget of only $23,000 (from ABPI), we are seeking support from Lottery West Relief Plan (for $334,000) to support our community members. See Page 6 of this document to find out how we are spending the grant (if we secure it from the Government).
  6. We have already rolled out the Art Awards for Children 15 years and below and the results are due to annouced on Sunday. 19 Children have participated in the competition.
  7. Telecounselling support continues and we are hopeful it is helping the community. Hon’ble Dean Smith indicated his great appreciation for this programme.
  8. Working with the Community Volunteer Group to support individuals whose situations were made very worse by the COVID-19 issue. These are great initiatives and we are very appreciative of it.
Behind the scenes, there are various tasks being carried out by various members of the Response Group and we remain thankful to each other for the contributions.
A short video documentary on the progress and the way forward is being drafted at the moment and will be released when it becomes ready. While we continue to post our updates on facebook, telegram and WeChat, please don’t hesitate to visit the ABPI website for any updates. We request our community members to come forward if you are still facing significant challenges due to the continuing COVID-19 issue. We also highly anticipate that that many of you will be kind enough to share these updates to your family and friends here in Western Australia.
The Group, now consisting of only 12 members, is working continuously, albeit on their time and on a voluntary basis. I am personally, so grately for their support and everyone has been so excellent in their one department.
We remain hopeful the COVID-19 is contained and we can once again come together in thousands.
Dr. Khandu
Bhutanese in Perth Covid-19 Response Group

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