The 75,000th refugee from Bhutan departed from Nepal for the United States of America today, April 8, 2014. Forty-four-year-old Tilak Chand Ghimire left Nepal with his wife, 12-year-old daughter and 75-year-old parents to start a new life in Akron, Ohio where his brother resettled in 2010, stated Kathmandu-based U.S. Embassy.
About his departure, Tilak said, “I am 80% excited and 20% scared.”
He knows he will need to work hard and learn English to succeed in the U.S. “I am most excited about the opportunities in the U.S. available to people like us, refugees, like studying, education for my child, and citizenship. We are not citizens of anywhere now, but in America we have the possibility of belonging.”
Tilak is also aware of what he will be leaving behind in departing the country he has lived in for 20 years: “Nepal has allowed us to stay here for so long, and Bhutan is where we were born. We can never forget these places.”
Tilak says his elderly parents are even more excited to go to the U.S. than he is. “They will see their son and all their grandchildren.” The U.S. has accepted many elderly individuals who often travel with their families, including six individuals over the age of 100.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, Peter W. Bodde, notes that, “The U.S. has long accepted refugees from around the world, and we are very proud to continue this tradition with the Bhutanese refugees.”
Meanwhile, the embassy has also said that a deadline for expressing interest in resettlement has been set for June 30, June 2014. “The U.S. will continue to resettle Bhutanese refugees who express their interest this deadline,” added the statement.
The U.S., in close coordination with the government of Nepal, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), began resettling refugees from Bhutan residing in eastern Nepal in 2007. The U.S. and other countries participating in this resettlement program – Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom – have collectively resettled 88,770 Bhutanese refugees.