Bhutanese-Nepali community members do not have equitable access to resources (e.g. medical knowledge) due to language, transportation, and financial barriers. Given the community already impacted by lack of access to basic health care, Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio formulated the process model of the BRAVE project, which takes into consideration the community resources and strength to support the families who are under distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BRAVE is a multidimensional engagement effort that involves: (1) pre-health screening support using a pool of community-identified professionals (nurses, doctors, and social workers) using technology; (2) creating a repository of community resources and supplying and transporting necessities to impacted families as needed; (3) communal support to address mental health. BRAVE will provide clients with essential relief and support clients as they encounter the expected financial repercussions.
With young leaders starting a chapter in Akron, Ohio, BRAVE is currently in operation and is serving 15 families in the greater Akron area. BRAVE has extended its expansion to support other Bhutanese refugee communities in neighboring Ohio cities. This fundraiser is to pay for the costs of supporting the community with purchasing and delivering family supplies, medication, masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves. As our capital grows, we also plan to support families in economic hardship with one-time bill payment, groceries, and whatever need arises.
The project volunteers taskforce is divided into six categories specific to the clients’ needs: BRAVE Ground, BRAVE Nurses, BRAVE Doctors, BRAVE Families, BRAVE On the Wheel and BRAVE Resources. The BRAVE ground has regulated four telephone hotline numbers 24/7, and the client’s information will be dispatched through the computer system to the respective task force division. The client’s information will be color-coded, and each task force will act according to the client’s needs. There is also a recently launched BRAVE app for smartphones, which will accelerate the process of dividing and dispatching the need specific data to the respective task force divisions.
Currently, the BRAVE project has identified 14 families infected with COVID-19. The BRAVE doctors and nurses are instructing them to self-quarantine for 14 days and providing counseling. The BRAVE on the wheel team is providing essential supplies like food, sanitizer, and masks to the quarantined family. Also, the local women from the community are providing homemade cloth masks to the BRAVE team and distributing throughout the community. The BRAVE project model is shared through social media, and now a lot of Bhutanese-Nepali communities from North Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, and New York are adopting the model.
The BRAVE project is setting an example of resilience for COVID-19 response at the national and global levels. It has outlined the collective preparedness framework to assess the community’s needs and capabilities with the integration of the available resources from across the community. The project has built a stronger social infrastructure and has facilitated more effective prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery activities.