Students in a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal. Photo by Peter Balleis/JRS International
Khudunabari camp, Nepal 22 June 2011 – Leaving Nepal for resettlement, Tila Chan Dhimal recalls the years spent as a refugee in eastern Nepal. He says close involvement with the BREP made him the person he is today.

It is said that when a man is robbed of everything, it is education that allows him to stand once again to face the challenges of life. On the eve of moving to the US for resettlement, looking back at these 18 years of my refugee life, I have only gratitude to express to all those who supported us.

In this long journey, Caritas Nepal occupies a central position in giving hope to many. My gratitude begins from the day I carried a sack and entered the freshly cleared grassland in class three in Sector C of Khudunabari camp.

I watched the initiatives of Caritas evolving as I grew. I completed my secondary education and was lucky to get a partial scholarship from JRS for my higher secondary education. When I finished, to support my community, I became a science teacher in the school where I had studied.

My life's struggle would have become unbearable if I didn't continue my education. I decided to pursue tertiary education on my own and completed a Bachelor's course in Science (BSc) at a college in Siliguri in 2007. Back in the camp I rejoined the same school. In 2008 I was chosen to be science resource teacher, charged with updating the curriculum, monitoring teaching, and recruiting and training new teachers.

This appointment coincided with the third-country resettlement process. The teacher turnover in JRS/Caritas-run schools began to switch from problem to crisis mode. It was a critical moment: people who had despaired for so long were now galvanised by the glimmer of hope promised by resettlement and, at the same time, they had to run the education programme in such a fluid situation.

My association with Caritas and JRS helped me to evolve into a wiser human being. They nurtured me as a mother would her child. If Caritas and JRS had not been there my destiny would have been different – I shudder even to think of this – and I believe this view is shared by many compatriots.
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