Life in the Camps

When first established in the early 1990s the Bhutanese refugee camps were hailed by the UNHCR as models of good practice.  From the beginning, high levels of participation from the refugee community meant that an effective infrastructure was put in place. The education system and general living conditions were seen as some of the best for refugee camps around the world.

However, as the Bhutanese refugee situation became more protracted, standards in the camps worsened.

A combination of donor fatigue, which resulted in budget cuts, and the exodus of the young and the educated, who went to seek work and opportunities outside the camps, meant that the living conditions dropped dramatically in the years leading up to the start of the resettlement process.