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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 10:29 GMT
In pictures: The Rose Class
Photo by Bishnu Maya, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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UK charity PhotoVoice has been teaching young refugees living in Nepal how to use photographs to alter local perceptions of their community. This is their story.
Photo by Pasang, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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For more than 12 years, seven refugee camps in Nepal's eastern lowlands have been home to over 100,000 refugees, who say they are Bhutanese. Bhutan and Nepal have long disagreed over their fate.
Photo by Yethi Raj, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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More than half of this figure is under the age of 18, the majority of whom have never known a life outside the camps.
Photo by Bishnu Maya, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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Despite high-levels of sanitation, healthcare and education, the refugee camps are dogged by soaring rates of mental illness and suicide prompted by years in limbo.
Photo by Bishnu Maya, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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Aita Singh, one of the photography students says "this project is the first chance we have been given to express things we keep inside to the outside world. Refugee is not a good title to have...but by doing good work our bad name will become respected."
Photo by Bishnu Maya, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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"If real tears are an indisputale sign of grief, then glass tears could possibly be the mark of insincerity. From looking at our faces you see no tears but inside our hearts are crying."
Photo by Madan, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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Madan: "In camp we are given the things we need...but we are not happy to spend our lives as refugees as we are not free. Thousands of drops of water when added together make an ocean, we must share our good ideas to find a solution to our problems."
Photo by Praja Pati, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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Yelthi Raj: "This boy is called Bikram, he is 8. He holds a hammer when he should be holding a pen. He will receive 5 rupees for a tin of crushed stones but as he is only a child it will take him all day to fill one tin."
Photo by Yethi Raj, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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Yelthi Raj: "This old man is a pundit, he is sitting outside his hut and reading his prayers. Each and every person has the right to follow their own religion. It is a fundamental right."
Photo by Dhanapati, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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Dhanapati: "These men are working to earn money to buy vegetables. They will earn very little."
Photo by Yethi Raj, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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Bishnu Maya: "Refugee people have many skills. Some people are very poor and do not have a single coin to buy fresh fruit and vegetables."
Photo by Yethi Raj, Rose Class. PhotoVoice.
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However there is now hope as during 2003 the Bhutanese government announced its long-delayed programme of repatriation...
Photo by Bishnu Maya, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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...which will allow a number of those living in the camps to claim genuine Bhutanese citizenship, others will settle in Nepal.
Photo by Dhanapati, Rose Class. PhotoVoice
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Aita: "I see Bhutan in my dreams. There I am working in the paddy fields and looking after the cows. My house in Bhutan is now covered by jungle. Nothing in the world can erase my sweet dream to go back to Bhutan." (Photo: A Sadhu, a holy man)



SEE ALSO:
Bhutan and Nepal in refugee deal
23 Oct 03  |  South Asia
Country profile: Nepal
04 Mar 04  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Bhutan
04 Mar 04  |  Country profiles


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