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Bhim’s Story: An American Dream


Becoming a refugee usually means hardship. Those who receive the government status of refugee are given it because they’re fleeing from proven persecution. That statement rolls off the tongue a lot nowadays with all the global discussion of the refugee crisis, so much so that we almost miss the weight of it.

Persecution. Fleeing.

Meaning, in many cases, leaving everything they own and everything they’ve ever known and running for their lives.

And after years in camps and years of going through a stringent vetting process, they finally arrive to America, where they are hoping to find safety and peace and stability.

But leaving everything behind means they have to start over from nothing.

To anyone, that scenario could sound like grounds for despair. How am I going to make it? How am I ever going to rebuild my life into some semblance of normalcy when I’ve lost everything? What if I can’t make it?

Bhim Tamang, a Bhutanese refugee who spent many years in a refugee camp in Nepal, may have asked some of those same questions when she first arrived to the U.S. with her family. But she didn’t let any of those questions or fears overcome her determination to build a successful life for herself and her family in their new American environment.

Bhim already knew a good amount of English, having studied it in the camp, but she was eager to continue learning. She was paired with a tutor through New American Pathways’ English at Home program and began studying weekly under her teacher. In addition to improving her English, Bhim has several ambitious goals which she is already working toward accomplishing.  She’s researching the best way to get the necessary education and credentials to work in childcare and/or early childhood education, including attending vocational counseling workshops and studying for the GED. She is also deeply committed to her own baby’s education, always working with her child on the materials and guidelines provided by New American Pathways’ Parents as Teachers (PAT) program and eager to show her child’s progress to her PAT Specialist.

Bhim is also getting a head start on studying for the interview and exam process for becoming an American citizen.  She has to wait another year to begin applying for citizenship since it takes a total of five years of U.S. residency to become eligible. And Bhim and her family have an exciting new milestone ahead of them – they’re about to become homeowners!

Though she has faced many hardships, including the death of her mother about a year after their arrival to the U.S., Bhim always seems to have an air of quiet determination and energy about her. She is an inspiration not only to other new Americans, but to all who recognize the value of courage, hard work and perseverance.

An affiliate of Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries
Church World Services Episcopal Migration Ministries
2300 Henderson Mill Rd., NE
Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30345
404.299.6099
United Way Community Partner
In partnership with MARTA
AmeriCorps