HSS Worker Swadesh Katoch gets Humanitarian Award for Bhutanese Hindu refugee resettlement in US

published on April 11, 2012

He is a pride for India ;  He is a true Indian. He is a genuine follower of Indain ethos; He lives not for self but for the society in a spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Swadesh Katoch, a prominent face of Indians in Georgia who owns an IT company has been awarded with a humanitarian award by the Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) for his outstanding work for resettlement of Bhutanese Hindu refugees.

This award was given to Swadesh at the GAPI’s annual function along with $ 1,000.  A humble human being, Swadesh Katoch announced to use this $ 1,000 for an eye health project for Bhutanese and helping Hindu widows in Pakistan .

Since the late 1980s, conflict between ethnic groups in the country of Bhutan resulted in a mass exodus of southern Bhutanese.  From 1991 until their departure to western countries for resettlement, around 110,000 Bhutanese citizens lived in U.N. refugee camps in Nepal .

In 2006, the United States volunteered to shelter 60,000 of the Bhutanese refugees. Since 2007, hundreds of these refugees were arrived in the United State of America , after spending two decades under poor conditions. This was the largest influx of refugees in recent History of the United States .

A majority of these refugees (mainly Nepali speaking Hindus) had limited literacy and were not exposed on urban or western life style. These refugees were only given a few months of support by the US government.  However, the aid was not enough for these refugees to become self-reliant.

Swadesh Katoch recognised the problem of these Hindu refugees and started helping them with his unique organizational skills.

Eventually, his efforts became a movement uniting Hindu communities, temples, and other Hindu faith based organizations across the United States for the resettlement of 60,000 Bhutanese refugees. Swadesh Katoch is a volunteer of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh since his childhood.  He is Sewa Pramukh and Sah-karyawah of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh’s Shri Sakti Sakha of Atlanta . He has dedicated this award to thousands of Sewa and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh karyakartas who are working relentlessly for the society around them. Under the able-leadership of Sree N. Sreenath, president of Sewa International and Swadesh Katoch, Sewa International USA took up a project to help the Bhutanese Hindu refugees. US SEWA chapters in various cities, along with various local organizations, worked to fulfill the immediate and longer-term needs of these refugees with several more chapters gearing up to help. Sewa International USA provided financial help, essential materials such as blankets, winter jackets, clothes, toys etc. To make the refugees financially empowered SEWA provided employment assistance, job search assistance, and sponsorship of vocational training.

The SEWA volunteers are helping the refugees for transitioning to a new environment while preserving their culture. Cultural events and rides to their preferred places of worship are being organised.

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