Nearly 40 percent of the refugees are children who were born inside the camps in Nepal.

About 105,000 Bhutanese refugees live in seven camps in southern Nepal. About 40 percent are children. Neither Nepal nor Bhutan recognizes them as citizens.

The refugees are ethnically Nepali. Their ancestors migrated to southern Bhutan in the 19th century. In the late 1970s, the Bhutanese government introduced sweeping legislations that discriminated against the Hindu Nepalis, who were seen as a threat to the monarchy and indigenous Buddhist Bhutanese.

Since 1990, the refugees have been living in squalid refugee camps. About 25 percent of the refugees were born in Nepal and neither Nepal nor Bhutan is willing to accept them. Nearly 80 percent of the refugees want to return to Bhutan, according to a 2003 UNHCR survey.

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  • A young child in one of the Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal.
  • More than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees live in camps run by UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.
  • Many refugees find work in the informal economy, with daily wage laborers earning about $1 to $2 per day.
  • The Vajra Foundation has provided solar cookers to the refugee camps but many families still use firewood or charcoal.
  • Jojo, 56, spends his day loitering inside the camps, gossiping with neighbors or sleeping under the trees.
  • Lokmaya Gurung, 50, and her 10-member family will resettle in the United States.
  • Narrow lanes separate the huts.
  • After 20 years in the camp, Tuku Maya Bhatrai, 70, is going to Norway. She says, "I don't know anything about Norway, I am going because my son went earlier. Where is Norway? I don't know. Somewhere. I am sure I can take a bus in the air."
  • Up until high school, education is free and girls outnumber boys. But most college graduates are men.
  • Twice a day the refugees queue in line to collect drinking water. Water-borne diseases such as jaundice and dysentery are common.
  • Ratna Gurung doesn't know if he will see his family again. He is going to Australia with his wife, Tiki, 16, and her family.
  • Khukri is a traditional utility knife of the Nepali people.
  • Medical care is available in the camps but many still rely on traditional herbal remedies.
  • The refugees are ethnically Nepali. Their ancestors migrated to southern Bhutan in the 19th century.
  • Dolma Tamang, 70, is known as Mother Teresa because of her wrinkles. Her entire family was sent to the United States. She is blind and was left behind.
  • According to UNHCR research, there is gender-based violence in the camps, including rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, polygamy, domestic violence and child marriage.
  • About 25 percent of the refugees were born in Nepal and neither Nepal nor Bhutan is willing to accept them.
  • Nearly 40 percent of the refugees are children who were born inside the camps in Nepal.
  • Every evening, the young people play football.
  • With no electricity, people wake up at sunrise and often wind up the day as darkness sets in.
  • Ratna Gurung, 20, has learned English, mathematics, geography and computer skills in the camp. But he doesn't know what to do with this education.
  • Since 2007, the United States government has begun a process of resettling 60,000 refugees.

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