Celebrating Harmony Week, Tasmania with community voices

By Mohan Hangkhim

NEW BEGINNINGS: Mohan Hangkhim spent 20 years as a refugee in Nepal and now he and his family happily call Tasmania home. He has three children and he sees the opportunties available for them. Picture Credit: Phillip Biggs

When I was around seven years old my father and mother brought us to Nepal in the beginning of 1992 due to the political conflict.

The people of Bhutan wanted democracy in the country, but the government of Bhutan refused people’s wants. In the conflict, the government of Bhutan forcefully started to push the people from the country. At that time thousands and thousands of people became homeless, country-less and without a future.

After leaving the country, we came to Nepal and started to live in the eastern part, Morang, in the suburb Sanischare as a Bhutanese refugee.

Many things I don’t remember because I was a bit small, but when I started to realise that we were Bhutanese refugees, at the time, many NGOs and INGOs like UNHCR, CARITAS Nepal, the Red Cross Society, Lutheran World Federation, WHO, WFP etc looked after us.

My father and mother were uneducated and did not go even one day to school. They thought school was like a dense forest. With help from different organisations the educated people of the camp established the school.

When I was admitted to school I was nine years old. After 10 years, I passed Year 10 the SLC or School Leaving Certificate and started college. After 10 years I passed Year 12.

I started to teach in the primary boarding school, English medium, in Nepal. I worked for six years as a teacher and in the position of boarding principal in the school.

When I was 21 years old I got married to Pabitra kuikel and we had a daughter, Shristee when I was 22, in 2007. I now have three children. The other two were born in Tasmania, one boy and one girl, Payal and Prayan.

After 20 years living in the refugee camp as a Bhutanese refugee, on the authorisation of the Nepal government and with coordination by UNHCR, the International Organisation of Migrants (IOM) and seven different countries, the third country settlement program was brought and the government of Australia allowed me to resettle in Australia.

I came to Australia in 2012 for a new life and future. When I first came to Australia, the Migrant Resource Centre North helped me. My case manager was Brandon Dixon from MRC and he was a very nice man, understanding and polite.

I used to work at Longford meat works and then started to work as a taxi driver. I have my own license number (number plate) and I operate two taxis at the moment.

I plan to stay in Tasmania as it is a beautiful place with plenty of opportunities.

I would like to give thanks to the government of Australia, local people, local communities and local service providers.

Source: Examiner

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