In Her Own Words
In 2015, New American Pathways client Dhan Rai, a participant in our Parents as Teachers (PAT) program, wrote about her experiences in PAT. We are proud to now be able to share with you Dhan Rai’s story.
My name is Dhan Rai. I am a mother of two daughters Neelam (five years) and Neelima (three years). My birthplace is Bhutan. I came to Nepal in 1992. I spent my childhood and teenage [years] in [a] refugee camp. Being a refugee, I was lucky enough to get an education through many hardships. March 25, 2009, I came to [the] USA through the resettlement process. For some months, I really had to struggle to be accustomed with the new environment in [the] USA.
In 2010, I got married and had my first child, Neelam. One day one of my friends told me about [the Parents as Teachers] PAT program in which her child was enrolled. At first I had no idea about PAT, so I was curious to know about that. I met Mrs. Beena Dahal (PAT teacher) at her office and she explained to me about PAT. I was mostly excited about PAT because it was home-based education in which both mother and a child could learn, so I didn’t wait long to be enrolled [with] my child. I thought that something is better than nothing, so why not try and see how it works. After [a] few days she started visiting our home. At first I didn’t like the way she taught my children, because she used to make my child play with rice, cereal, blocks, string, and sometimes with clothes and crayons, etc. So I found my PAT teacher crazy at first.
But later I discovered that my child could say numbers, colors, shapes, names of animals, fruit, vegetables and she could speak in both languages. So it was amazing to know that my child was better than before and she was growing physically, mentally and socially fit. Being in PAT, I feel myself very lucky, because through this program, I got [a] chance to build up my confidence and responsibility—attending many leadership trainings, storytelling, representing our language, rhymes, etc.
Mostly leadership training helped me to achieve all my goals, such as getting driver license, getting citizenship, buying home, potty training and enrolling my child in pre-K. Through this leadership training I feel myself very empowered and I hope I can help other women to be empowered, too.
So [the] PAT program has [a] versatile role in making our community better. I am very thankful to this program in many ways and hope it will [continue] its work.
Through Parents as Teachers (PAT), a nationally accredited, evidence-based curriculum, we help parents of very young children understand child development, promote literacy, access early learning programs, and become effective teachers and advocates. PAT’s mission is to provide the information, support and encouragement that parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of their lives. One of PAT’s core principals is based on the notion that parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers. PAT educators support refugee parents in being the best teachers they can be.