120 Stories: Day 1
“My name is Pasupati, and I am originally from Bhutan. I had a house, went to school, and led a peaceful life in my home country. Around the late 1980’s, due to the Bhutanese monarchy’s ethnic cleansing policy and eviction tactics, I became a refugee at the age of 21.
Refugee life was full of difficulties without enough food to eat or good water to drink. I had no comfortable place to sleep and had no sense of belonging. Every minute of my refugee life has long stories to tell. Survival itself was a big question. For 17 years, I lived in a refugee camp hoping one day to return home, but it never happened. Ultimately, my family was given the opportunity to resettle in the United States.
Nine years ago, I came to the US with my wife and four-year old son. Two months after arriving in Atlanta, my wife and I started working and became self-sufficient. My son started school when he turned five years old and is currently in 7th grade. Now, I drive my own car and have a home to call my own. Everyone in my family has become a US citizen, and we voted in the last November election. Having my co-workers watch me take the oath of allegiance was one of the proudest moments in my life. Now, my family is part of the American community and has a sense of belonging. The United States of America believed in us and gave us a chance to lead a normal human life.”
Sr. Resettlement Specialist
About 120 Stories in 120 Days
The executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Born Terrorist Entry into the United States” halts the national refugee resettlement program for 120 days and dramatically reduces the ceiling for refugee arrivals from 110,000 to 50,000. In response to this executive order, Catholic Charities Atlanta created the 120 Stories in 120 Days Project in order to tell the stories of those individuals who have fled their home due to violence or persecution.
This project will tell 120 stories of clients, staff, volunteers, and community members involved with our resettlement program. Our hope is that these stories will humanize the refugee crisis, highlight the successes and the contributions that refugees make to their local communities, and help readers understand that our similarities far outweigh our differences.
In his address to Congress in September 2015, Pope Francis reminded us all to “treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves…The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.” Catholic Charities Atlanta remains in solidarity with those we serve.
If you would like to donate to help Catholic Charities Atlanta continue our important work supporting refugees and immigrants, please click here: https://give.catholiccharitiesatlanta.org/supporting-refugees-and-immigrants.
If you have a story to share, please contact Kimberly Longshore at KLongshore@catholiccharitiesatlanta.org