Member Agency Story
The Gift of Language
"Never give up anything. Just hope for better. Things get better, be hopeful, be positive."
When Sudar was growing up in the southern part of Bhutan, he moved north to join his brother who was working there. Books were burned, demonstrations occurred, and schools were closed in the South. In the North, everyone spoke the national language of Bhutan: Dzongkha. However, Sudar did not. He spoke Nepali, the language commonly spoken in the South. He started attending school,which had a rule that if he spoke one word of Nepali, he had to pay five ngultrum (Bhutanese currency). He says, "I paid three times but I didn't have any money to pay, so I was silent. It was better not to speak anything than to pay the fine." Because of his silence, other students realized that he was from the South. Taking advantage of his inability to speak up and to complain to a higher authority, they began to push and hit him. His time in the North was a time of struggle.
After fleeing to Nepal, six years of life in a refugee camp awaited him. Sudar worked hard, attending college and working in many jobs, including as a high school principal. Years later, he was able to come to the U.S. as a refugee. He and his family were resettled by Catholic Charities in Fort Worth, Texas. Now, Sudar is an ESL program specialist, helping give the power and gift of language to many people who are new to the U.S. and are trying to learn English in order to build a better life for themselves and their families.