Situated between India and China, the isolated Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan is often called “the last Shangri-La.” Yet it has also generated one of the highest numbers of refugees in the world in proportion to its population.
Beginning in 1991 over one sixth of Bhutan's people sought asylum. The majority of these refugees are Lhotshampas who are of Nepalese origin and one of Bhutan’s three main ethnic groups. They were forced out of their homes in the early 1990s after having been invited to settle there earlier in the century.
Since then, Bhutanese families have lived in refugee camps in Nepal. Unable to return home, resettlement began in 2008 under UNHCR in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Here in Western Massachusetts they have found a home and the opportunity to create a brighter future for their children.
Beda and Tila were two of our first candle-makers in the U.S., joining Prosperity Candle in the fall of 2010 to make custom designs for Amnesty International, eBay's head office, and other organizations interested in supporting women artisans and refugees.