Sunday, August 9, 2015

Non-resident Nepali Association-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter and Local Nepalese Diaspora

Rabin Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Although a group of eight Nepalese students including Dr Trailokya Nath Upreti, Krishna Raj Aryal, Bhuvan Lal Joshi and so on were the first Nepalese to embark on educational odyssey at the University of Oregon in Eugene in June, 1955, they all returned to Nepal in 1956 after doing their Master's Degree at the University. That was the time characterized by the Cold War between the USA and the USSR when both the superpowers tried to outdo each other in peddling  their influence in the Third World countries.

Anyway, the history of Nepalese immigrating to the United States is not very old, comparing to the people from other countries. According to Olivia Miller, "the first time that the Nepalese were classified as a separate group occurred in1975, when 56 Nepalese immigrated to the United States."

One of the first known Nepalese who settled in Oregon were late Helen Ward (Mali)  and her relatives. Mali family moved to Oregon from Nepal in 1979. The process of globalization and global migration have definitely a tremendous impact on the Nepalese people too. The number of Nepalese people who immigrated to the US started to increase after the US government launched the Diversity Visa lottery. Today there are more than 500 people of Nepalese origin in Oregon alone.

To meet the growing needs of the Nepalese diaspora in Oregon, various Nepalese community organizations have been established in the past. Prominent among them are the NAO and the Nepa Chhen. The Nepali Association of Oregon (NAO), for example, was launched in April 2001. NAO is the most representative body of the Nepalese diaspora in Oregon. Likewise, Nepa Chhen, a cultural center for Nepalese community in Oregon was set up in November 2012. It looks like the Nepa Chhen and the NAO have become the household names among the Nepalese community in Oregon.

Meanwhile, NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter was officially launched in June 2015 this year under the chairmanship of Mr Diwakar Maharjan. NRNA-Oregon Chapter aims to work as a broader platform to work for the betterment of Nepalese diaspora in Oregon. It is to be noted that NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter has helped the community members in acquiring the Machine Readable Passports (MRPs). Deputy chief of the mission at the Nepalese Embassy in the USA Mr Rishi Ram Ghimire and embassy staff Deepak Sharma were in Portland at the request of NRNA-Oregon Chapter to provide help to the Nepalese in Oregon in acquiring MRP passports. Work on helping community members to acquire MRPs is still going on and Oregon chapter's vice president Daya Shakya and general secretary Sunil Rajkarnikar are ready to provide any kind of help or information regarding MRPs.

NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter has invited Mr Khagendra GC, Mr Yagya Nepal and some other personalities to shed light on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the Nepalese staying in the US. It is to be noted that after the devastating earthquakes in Nepal,  the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 24, 2015 the designation of Nepal for Temporary Protected Status and that eligible Nepalese residing in the US can apply for taking the benefit. Mr GC and Mr Nepal are scheduled to speak about the TPS in detail at a picnic to be organized by Nepa Chhen and NRNA Oregon chapter at Blue Lake Park in Portland on August 22, 2015. Hopefully, the community members will be able to get more useful information about the TPS from Mr GC and Mr Nepal at the picnic.

Given the fact that NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter was established just a couple months ago, the Chapter is already able to win the hearts of the Nepalese Portlanders. Therefore, this kind of activities  carried  out by NRNA - Oregon Chapter for the benefit of the local diaspora are expected to be just another feather in the Chapter's cap. NRNA-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter is still in the nascent stage of its growth and it is hoped that the Chapter will be able to render necessary help to the members of the Nepalese diaspora in Oregon in the future too.

*Also please read:
NRNA and Issue of Dual Citizenship   Jan 25, 2015
Certificates of Election Awarded to NRN-NCC-USA Oregon Chapter Officials  Aug 23, 2015
NRNA-USA Oregon Chapter's First General Meeting Kicks Off   June 21, 2015

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