Empowering People. Strengthening Communities.

by Chhatra G.

I am Chhatra from Bhutan (Dagapela). I have Bhutanese citizenship. In Bhutan I completed 4 years of a diploma course in Automobile engineering. I worked for an agricultural farm machinery workshop after school as a mechanical supervisor for seven years.

A risky life

Life in Bhutan for ethnic Nepali was very risky. The Bhutan army began to arbitrarily kill the Nepali people and drove them out of their homeland. I had to flee from Bhutan with my family on July 27, 1991 due to the political agitation between the government and ethnic group, Lhotshampa. I left behind my job, land, and house.

Harsh conditions

We moved to the Goldhap camp in eastern Nepal and spent seventeen years there. Life was difficult. My family lived in a small bamboo hut with a thatch roof. We had a ration card which provided simple food and non-food items, funded by the UNHCR. We were not allowed to work outside the camp, though sometimes I secretly worked outside the camp for small amounts of money. In the camp I served in the Nepal Red Cross as a volunteer doing kerosene stove repairing in the camp for about ten years.

New opportunities

Then we got the golden opportunity to file for permanent resettlement in the U.S. Even though life in the camp for such a long time was difficult, I will not forget it. When we finally left, I left with a broken heart and full of tears in my eyes. I even had to leave my parents at the same camp!

Peace and safety

I have safely reached here with my family on July 7, 2008 and have been relocated to Concord. I am also very thankful to Lutheran Social Services for helping us resettle.

Now I am living happily with my wife and two sons. I was forced to come here for a better life, especially for the children. Now I am looking for a job in a technical or mechanical section. I like this area and am feeling very safe. I have found peace and a beautiful place.

* Chhatra's eldest son painted the picture above for a talent show put on by the ESOL class students at First Congregational Church in August.