The Lhotsampa in Australia

Their Spirituality for Coping and Resilience

Venkat Pulla, Jennifer Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Lhotsampa are one of the three main ethnic groups that make upthe population of Bhutan, a nation of immigrants. Despite having beengranted full citizenship following the promulgation of the CitizenshipAct of 1958, a period of instability for the Lhotsampa ensued with therise of power and status of the Lhotsampa coupled with the ascensionto the throne of the fourth monarch, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck,who instituted policies ostensibly aimed at retaining 'Bhutanese'culture (Evans, R. 2010. 'The Perils of being a Borderland People: Onthe Lhotshampas of Bhutan'. Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 18 (1): 26).This instability, marked by oppressive policies and overt discrimination,eventually resulted in either the expulsion or the flight of over100,000 Lhotsampa people. Following more than 20 years in refugeecamps in Nepal, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) commenced the resettlement of the Lhotsampa in 2007 inhost countries throughout the world including Australia, the US, theNetherlands, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway and the UK (Benson, G. O., F. Sun, D. R. Hodge and D. K. Androff. 2011. 'ReligiousCoping and Acculturation Stress among Hindu Bhutanese: A Study ofNewly-resettled Refugees in the United States'. International Social Work,Vol. 55 (4):: 539).This study examines the spiritual coping and subsequent resiliencethat the Lhotsampa refugees have succeeded in developing, not only atthe loss of their homeland, the lack of citizenship and the adverse effectsof refugee existence but also the difficult process of third countryresettlement. Facing the difficulties of rebuilding lives in vastly differingWestern cultures, this article examines the role(s) that spirituality playsin the development of resilience that facilitates positive outcomes,which the Lhotsampa are demonstrating. Themes of spirituality areidentified and the way in which the Lhotsampa utilises their spiritualitywithin these themes are also explored. Finally, the implications forcontemporary social work practice will be considered. In particular,this article considers the strengths perspective for culturally competent,spiritually inclusive practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-78
Number of pages20
JournalSociety and Culture in South Asia
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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spirituality
resilience
Bhutan
refugee
coping
social work
citizenship
UNHCR
expulsion
resettlement
Nepal
South Asia
acculturation
Homelands
Denmark
flight
Norway
New Zealand
ethnic group
discrimination

Cite this

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abstract = "The Lhotsampa are one of the three main ethnic groups that make upthe population of Bhutan, a nation of immigrants. Despite having beengranted full citizenship following the promulgation of the CitizenshipAct of 1958, a period of instability for the Lhotsampa ensued with therise of power and status of the Lhotsampa coupled with the ascensionto the throne of the fourth monarch, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck,who instituted policies ostensibly aimed at retaining 'Bhutanese'culture (Evans, R. 2010. 'The Perils of being a Borderland People: Onthe Lhotshampas of Bhutan'. Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 18 (1): 26).This instability, marked by oppressive policies and overt discrimination,eventually resulted in either the expulsion or the flight of over100,000 Lhotsampa people. Following more than 20 years in refugeecamps in Nepal, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) commenced the resettlement of the Lhotsampa in 2007 inhost countries throughout the world including Australia, the US, theNetherlands, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway and the UK (Benson, G. O., F. Sun, D. R. Hodge and D. K. Androff. 2011. 'ReligiousCoping and Acculturation Stress among Hindu Bhutanese: A Study ofNewly-resettled Refugees in the United States'. International Social Work,Vol. 55 (4):: 539).This study examines the spiritual coping and subsequent resiliencethat the Lhotsampa refugees have succeeded in developing, not only atthe loss of their homeland, the lack of citizenship and the adverse effectsof refugee existence but also the difficult process of third countryresettlement. Facing the difficulties of rebuilding lives in vastly differingWestern cultures, this article examines the role(s) that spirituality playsin the development of resilience that facilitates positive outcomes,which the Lhotsampa are demonstrating. Themes of spirituality areidentified and the way in which the Lhotsampa utilises their spiritualitywithin these themes are also explored. Finally, the implications forcontemporary social work practice will be considered. In particular,this article considers the strengths perspective for culturally competent,spiritually inclusive practice.",
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The Lhotsampa in Australia : Their Spirituality for Coping and Resilience. / Pulla, Venkat; Woods, Jennifer.

In: Society and Culture in South Asia, Vol. 2, No. 1, 01.2016, p. 59-78.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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