When expectations from parents limit to mere dreams


I am a tenth-grade student from Tri-Ratna Secondary School located at Beldangi-II, Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal. In Bhutan, we are from Sarbang. My grandmother became widow at the age of 40. Then my father was 2 years. Due to the political problems in Bhutan, she had to flee the country in 1992.

Baliram Mongar/Picture courtesy : Roshan Shankar

Born and reared up in the refugee camps, at age of 17, I function as a head of my family. Not because, I don’t have parents. But both of them are disabled – they are deaf and incapable to make decisions. My grandmother is 80 years. She was responsible for taking care of our family matters. However, she is becoming bed ridden due to her old age. Currently, we are registered refugees in Beldangi-II Extension, sector A-1, hut number 91. Though living among odds, I am proud of my parents and what I am today. Next to me, I have a brother, Vikram. He is 10 years old and studying in fourth-grade. He is performing very well.

Apart from the basic subsistence provided by the international agencies, my family has no other regular source of income. As other disabled and people of lower caste; occasionally, my father Phauda Singh Mongar, 42, works to dig-out latrines in the camp. However, his disability is taken advantage; he cannot figure out currency notes and mostly he is paid just a few rupees. My mother, Sun Maya is a housewife. Her cognitive function is poor, often requiring instructions and guidance to execute daily activities like cleaning and taking personal care.

I am not a grown intelligent student. In my family, education had never been a priority. In my early schooling days, I even failed. As I grew up, I started realizing the value of education. These days, I am putting a lot of efforts in my studies. I passed grade nine with satisfactory grades. It is an intrinsic problem, a structural issue where I need to struggle to create an academic environment in my home.  When I compare myself with friends of my circle, I feel inferior. I regard that their parents are able to afford their further studies, manage their basic needs and even fulfill their extra demands. However, as I compare my study, I feel that I have several equations in my life to satisfy with what I have.

During school vacation, I go outside the camps and do some labour work. With the money earned, I buy clothes, slippers and other basic utilities for my parents, grandma and brother. I also use this money to buy stationery for my brother and me. I am determined to complete my School Leaving Certificate examinations next year securing good grade. After that I need to make a choice to study or to support my family and brother. Also because I am an average student, I won’t be able to combine my education and work simultaneously. Helpless, I feel if there would be people who know poor and who understand their incapacitation. I wonder if I would get support for education. My grandmother says, there is god to help me.

I know that the third country resettlement would be an appropriate choice to my family as well. However, I am a failure in this regard. I could not convince my parents and octogenarian grandmother. My grandmother wishes to die in Nepal and tells we can opt for third countries. While my parents are unaware of what is going on in the camp. The situation in my family is challenging my dreams; my primitive dreams.

Hearing that Punya Foundation is initiating scholarship program targeting vulnerable ones, it is giving me a hope. It is encouraging us. I hope helpless people like me, though punished by faith, will get a chance to study and craft our future.

(This profile story contributed to the Punya Foundation is based on the conversation with Vidhyapati Mishra of Bhutan News Service and Basudev Khanal of the Bhutanese Refugees Association of Intelligent Novas – BRIAN)


  1. Baliram Vai,

    Thank you so much for sharing your personal story. I know, due to your family problems you seem some what frustrated but very glad to know that you have positive and optimistic outlook. This is the way of life …….! You have become the mouth piece of several Balirams in our society. I know how hard it is to be a leader of family at this age of carefree life….but this all hurdles in life should be taken as the stepping stones to success. Through your own circumstances, you are able to feel for others, that is really great. Yes, there are always opportunists who take advantage of some one’s simplicity and innocence.Never, tolerate injustice and exploitation. There are good people or organizations in camps whom you can report if you know that you father or yourself in in injustice.
    You have done a great job by letting know Punya Foundation about your situation and needs. I am sure that such organization will be able to help out you and several others who have similar situations like yours.Never give up hope. I pray for you!

  2. Dear Baliram,
    I am touched by your condition but the way you have expressed above makes me feel that you are a real BALIRAM. The sacrifice you have already done and any you will do in future will surely elevate you to a position where then you will be proud of what you have done despite the disabilities you are surrounded with now. I only wish you and your family were resetteled. Even if not, the balance you have maintained and a vision you have nurtured at this tender age of 17 will no doubt explore opportunities for you and your family’s comfort. I am sorry for what you have to undergo now but will pray for your future. Thanks BNS for writing on him.
    All the best, Baliram.

  3. Bhai its kinda pathetic version. Life in fact is full of ups and downs and we can never be without it. I sincerely appreciate your struggle. My personal suggest is please go resettlement as soon as before it stop. Life abroad is not easy but i bet you people like you can definitely make difference. Bhai please go for it if you really want to do something!!!!

  4. Bali bhai,
    really touching the fact that you have disclosed in this popular site. Congrats for your article. We resettled refugees around the globe pray for your best future and advise you to go under IOM process so that you would not be neglected in any reasons besides your miserable economic conditions and disability. The donor agencies and whole countries are on your side. I advise you to go for process ASAP [As Soon As Possible] so that we would really get at least 80 percent satisfied for doing so. No other alternatives or options are left for such vulnerable people rather than grabbing the opportunities of TCR[Third Country Res-settlement] Lastly, we would like to pray for your bright future and full of blessings!