A refugee’s story of hope

Dhan Bhattarai, Patterson student and Nepali refugee (Photo: Patterson Press)

By Dhan Bhattarai,

A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disasters. Refugees are strong people because they have to survive many difficulties and hardships.

Some Nepali people lived in the neighboring country of Bhutan for many years. They were forced to leave the country in 1990. They lived in Nepal as refugees for about 22 years under the shelter of bamboo, plastic and tents.

I lived in a refugee camp in the eastern part of Nepal. The conditions were miserable and did not offer many opportunities. We did not have fresh food to eat, clothes to wear, adequate sanitation, health services, or even a place to sleep.  We did not have an opportunity to receive a good education due to our poverty. We must give thanks to God because, fortunately, we found UNHCR and CARIAS Nepal. These organizations changed our lives. These two organizations provide food shelter, clothes, plastic, bamboo and free English education to Bhutanese refugees.

The conditions were gloomy; our school was made of bamboo and plastic and our classroom was very small, and there were 42 students in one class. There I completed up through the eighth grade despite not having air conditioning or electricity. It was such a tough experience.

Some time had passed before the international organization for migration offered a third country resettlement program. Today we are here in this land of opportunity because of that organization. When we were in the refugee camp, we did not have any hope that life would get better. Yet today we have lots of hope to build a better future because we have a golden chance to study in an American high school and also we have a chance to become American citizens. If the U.S. government helps me to study on the college level then I will be very grateful because I’m very hopeful to accomplish many goals.

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