This article features NNED Partner and Steering Committee Member Sudarshan Pyakurel, director of the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe in early 2020, Sudarshan Pyakurel never once considered putting a halt to his work for the local Bhutanese-Nepali community.
The 39-year-old Reynoldsburg resident is a “super leader,” said Uma Acharya, a longtime friend of his and fellow volunteer for both the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio and Pyakurel’s BRAVE program. After joining BCCO as its director and applying for grants that kept the organization from shutting down in 2016, Pyakurel threw himself into his work to represent Columbus’ Bhutanese-Nepali community and help it flourish. Acharya was instantly moved by Pyakurel’s sheer passion for his work and his community.
“(Pyakurel) has gone beyond, like way beyond, his capacity to make things better,” Acharya said, noting how Pyakurel has traveled to countless schools and small businesses to spread awareness about the Bhutanese-Nepali community. “There’s so many of us … and people need to know that we live here,” she said. “He’s just here for the community.”
Originally from Bhutan, Pyakurel moved to Nepal at a young age due to ethnic cleansing in the 1990s. After spending eight years in a refugee camp with his parents, he earned a bachelor’s in economics and a master’s in English literature in India before moving to Cleveland in 2010 as a refugee. Pyakurel soon transferred to Ohio State University to earn a second bachelor’s degree, this time in anthropology, before beginning work with BCCO.
Described by Pyakurel as a “small but mighty team,” BCCO served Bhutanese-Nepali community members with basic matters such as everyday case management until the pandemic hit and protecting the community became their primary focus.
Read more at ColumbusMonthly.com.