Celebration season in camps
November 29, 2009: The November end and first week of December, every year, turns out to be celebration season in Bhutanese refugee camps.
There is a long list of days for celebration during this cold season.
It has been the tradition and means to engage refugees not only to raise awareness but helping them get cooled from frustrations. In recent years, the most frustrating group, young people have increasing participation in such programs.
The list of the celebration days includes campaign against domestic violence on women, AIDS Day, Disability Day, Volunteers Day and Human Rights Day. Most of these days began to be celebrated since 1997 when Save the Children (UK), which was responsible for health project in the camp, formed Children Forum and instigated children to raise awareness on these issues.
The campaign against domestic violence on women has already begun in the camps. The aiding agencies pick up the pace for AIDS day celebration on December 1 in all camps, with the slogan – Take the Lead, Stop AIDS and Keep the Promise.
Primary Health Care Project of the Asian Medical Doctors’ Association (AMDA) will organize HIV awareness programs through street drama, HIV/AIDS related songs, dances, sports events and rallies.
Officials from Refugee Coordinating Unit (RCU), Camp Monitoring Officer of Lutheran World Federation (LWF), UNHCR, camp secretaries and police force will join their hands in the programs.
Shital Beka, a staff of AMDA, PHCP for Bhutanese refugees said program is entirely targeted to the refugees to create awareness and prevent spreading of the AIDS. AMDA said 18 refugees have so far been detected to have infected with AIDS.
The camp residents also wait for Disability Day, Volunteer Day and most importantly the Human Rights Day on December 10.