Pittsburgh has long been a destination for immigrants. Neighborhood names like Deutschtown, Little
Italy, and Polish Hill attest to the waves of newcomers who came before and
settled near others sharing the same language and customs. Regardless of where
they come from, most immigrants face the same challenges—finding quality
employment, good schools, and affordable housing while adjusting to a new
language and culture. The Bhutanese community is currently undergoing these
challenges as part of the latest wave of immigrants to call the Pittsburgh area
Bhutanese community in Allegheny County numbers about 4,000 and spans 13
neighborhoods. The majority live in the neighborhoods of Prospect Park and
Carrick. Many came to Pittsburgh after being displaced from their homeland by
ethnic strife. Others came after hearing by word of mouth about the
opportunities that existed here.
Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) formed to ease the
adjustment and integration into the Pittsburgh community while preserving Bhutanese
culture. To aid the BCAP, the Office of Child Development (OCD) is evaluating BCAP’s
project to strengthen their capacity to address community driven needs and
issues. These include:
n Learning English (for all
n Health and behavioral health
problems, especially suicide prevention.
n Isolated and depressed older
n Younger adults unable to find meaningful employment.
n Alienated teens and young
adults who are at risk for engaging in criminal activity and/or substance
currently also transitioning to a non-profit organization. Leadership training
and funding for key staff positions would enhance their ability to initiate and
coordinate efforts on behalf of the community, including:
n Outreach support to
families with preschool- and school-age children through counseling and parent
neighborhood-based “clubs” that teach Nepali language and culture to children
and English language and culture to adults.
n Culturally appropriate
outreach to socially isolated Bhutanese youth to positively engage them.
n Behavioral health
interventions and social support groups to address the increase in suicides in
is also a need for support to address everyday issues such as access to health
care, legal matters, child care, obtaining a driver’s license, educational
access, professional development, resources for senior citizens, and services
for individuals with special needs.
critical component to successful integration into American society is neighborhood-based ESL (English as a Second
Language) instruction. It is difficult for many Bhutanese to participate
in conventional ESL programs because of family responsibilities, work
schedules, and transportation issues, particularly on the part of
socially-isolated older adults. And it is their lack of English language skills
that in part keeps them socially isolated. This neighborhood-based instruction
is happening in several neighborhoods. But one of BCAP’s goals is to offer
expanded programming in at least 5 additional locations. OCD is working to aid and evaluate BCAP’s
efforts to make this goal an achievable one.