The last Bhutanese refugees in Nepal

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Shreejana, a sixteen years old girl, is with her nephew named Ayush. Both of them were born at the camp and thus never set foot in the native country of their parents.

The refugees are waiting in the yard of the camp’s medical unit. Before they can leave for their host country each one of them have to go through a thorough medical exam.

Family members and friends get together on the way from the cabins to the buses that will get them to the airport. Together they carry the 20 kilos of luggage that each person is allowed to take with them.

Beldangi’s refugee camp is situated outside of town and inside Toribari’s preserve which is partially cleared of trees. The refugees live in cabins made of bamboo that all look alike and are not comfortable.

Sisters have to say their goodbyes without knowing when they are going to see each other again.

Mondon and his sister named Pema are sitting in front of their cabin. The youth waiting for their departure get each day more and more bored and weary.

Rationing happens twice a month. Refugees are not allowed to work outside the camp and therefore earn a pittance. They are constrained to a rudimentary alimentation.

Suman, a newborn of only 15 days old, sleeps next to his mother in the family cabin. He was born at the camp like a lot of refugees’ children where his parents have met.

The heavy rain from monsoon caused the river of the neighboring camp, Rutawa, to overflow. The refugees hurry to gather the pieces of wood carried away by the river’s current. They need the wood to cook.

Each morning students and professors gather in the schoolyard to listen to the national anthem of the Kingdom of Bhutan followed by the Nepalese one.

Professor Rajman Tamang holds the Bhutanese flag made by his students. Professor Rajman teaches the official language of Bhutan, dzongkha, to his middle school students.

Bonu, 17, just had her waters break. She is surrounded by her family at the maternity ward of a hospital within the Bhutanese refugee camp of Beldangi I. Bonu is being examined by the nurse on duty at the camp. She will be taken to the nearest town hospital later during the night to perform the delivery.

Ram Bahadur is 78. Earlier in the morning some of his family’s member left the camp according to the resettlement program of refugees in a foreign country. In the late afternoon Ram focuses on the story of the Hindi God Khrisna hoping to soothe his pain.

There is an Hindi religious celebration by the Maï river for Leela and her family. In the early 90’s the Buddhist government in Bhutan decided that the rise of the Nepalese minority mainly Hindi was a threat for the Kingdom’s stability.

Sunday Mass in the Namuna church on Beldandi III. It’s Aita’s first one (on the far left in the picture). A lot of Bhutanese people decided to turn toward the Christian religion after their deportation.

It’s time to say goodbye. Some refugees wish farewell to their leaving counterparts, waiting for their turn to come.

Aboard the IOM bus (International Organization of Migration), which leaves the camp to take refugees to the airport for a no return trip, Durka gives her last rupees to her relatives who came to say good-bye.

Ruins of the Khudhunabari camp. The massive departure of the refugees abroad leads to the gradual closure of the camps. So far, three out of seven camps in Nepal have closed.

Mohan returns to his home to join his wife and sons. He comes from a Bhutanese refugee camp and has been living in the Netherlands for two years. Three times a week, he attends a Dutch language class in order to take the linguistic examination required to be eligible for Dutch citizenship.