Through the Bhutanese Community Association of Erie (BCAE), the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council’s Multicultural Outreach Project is collaborating with local universities in the Erie area with medical, rehabilitation and social services degree programs to establish practical hands-on educational opportunities for students. Clinics funded by the grant will house the program and provide the students with actual field experience.  They will work with people from diverse cultures who have disabilities, as well as provide personal health management education and advice to the minority community. According to Lalit Rai, BCAE President, the PADDC Grantee organization was structured for charitable, cultural, religious, educational, and scientific purposes in order to protect and promote understanding of Bhutanese immigrants.

Mr. Rai hopes the fifteen month grant will support the organization’s members with disabilities to be able to fully participate in activities in the Erie community, and access effective and on-going rehabilitation focused interventions as well as learn better health management practices. Mr. Rai is also looking to develop formal relationships and partnerships with other Erie organizations. In the long term, Mr. Rai hopes to train volunteers and family members in the delivery of home-based rehabilitation and care of people with disabilities, such as the administration of necessary medications and maintaining regular clinical check-ups. He also hopes the project will facilitate the greater participation of people with disabilities from the BCAE in the activities taking place in the Erie region through a variety of organizations.

Participation in the project includes not only the BCAE, but also the Multicultural Community Resource Center (MCRC), also located in Erie.  MCRC is an advisory committee with members from various local universities, 50% of which are people with disabilities, along with university volunteers.

Mr. Rai is always on the lookout for volunteers who can participant on the advisory committee and devote time to the project, such as Dr. Allan Turner, Director of Client Services at MCRC. Interested parties should contact Mr. Rai at