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World Affairs Council plans World Refugee Day celebration

Pingala Dhital, who works with World Relief in Spokane to help refugees from around the world find employment, will speak at the Spokane celebration of World Refugee Day at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 20, at the Corbin Senior Center, 827 W. Cleveland.

She and other Nepali-speaking refugees who were persecuted and denied human rights in Bhutan will share their culture and cuisine as part of this event, presented by the World Affairs Council of Spokane.

Pingala and her family were forced to leave Bhutan in 1990 when she was 17 as the atrocities against their ethnic group rose.  They fled to India where they lived for nine months.  India forced them to leave in 1991, and her family fled to the Beldangi refugee camp in Nepal, where she went to school and later married Kamal in 1994.  They reared their two children in primitive refugee camp conditions.

As conditions in the camp deteriorated, they left the camp in search of better education for their children.

Pingala became an activist for third country resettlement in 2004, when repatriation to Bhutan appeared to be unachievable.

She and her family applied to be resettled in the United States in 2006 and arrived in Spokane as the first Bhutanese refugees accepted in the United States in February 2008.  Pingala now works for World Relief, helping refugees from around the world in finding employment.

For information, call 448-8412 or email