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1000 Times Better: Padam Lal Khadka

1000 Times Better: Padam Lal Khadka

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Published by Narendra Mainali
Padam and his wife, Bishnu Maya Khadka, who arrived in Denmark 18 months ago from Beldangi 2 Camp, live in a small apartment in Viborg. Recalling the initial days of his arrival in Denmark, Padam erupts in laughter, as everything was a different from what he had seen and experienced in his life.
Padam and his wife, Bishnu Maya Khadka, who arrived in Denmark 18 months ago from Beldangi 2 Camp, live in a small apartment in Viborg. Recalling the initial days of his arrival in Denmark, Padam erupts in laughter, as everything was a different from what he had seen and experienced in his life.

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Published by: Narendra Mainali on May 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/14/2014

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 words & photographs by Narendra Mainali
‘1000 times better’
 Tey lived or almost 20 years with uncertain hopes in thetemporary camps in the hotand humid plains o easternNepal, deprived o the basicliving conditions. But theBhutanese reugees now enjoy the amenities o modernapartments with Europeanstandard o lie.However, it is not the novelty o lie in Europe they arehappy about — it’s the rsttime in ages that they arebeing treated with respect.
 
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“I
had never imagined that I would spendmy old days in this part o the world,learning new language and skills,” says PadamKhadka, breathing a sigh o relie. He is oneamong several resettled amilies in Denmark.“No doubt we waited so long in despair, wanting to go to our homeland Bhutan, but we had no options let than to opt or a thirdcountry relocation,” he says.In the 1980s the Kingdom o Bhutan took aseries o measures that discriminated against
Lhotshampas
, one o Bhutan’s three mainethnic groups. It resulted in their mass exile inthe early 1990s.Since 1991, over one sixth o the people o Bhutan have sought asylum in the sevencamps in eastern Nepal. According to the UNReugee Agency UNHCR, the physical, socialand emotional costs o living in the temporary camps with uncertain utures were too high.Under the supervision o UNHCR, about108,000 Bhutanese reugees were waiting orthe sustainable resolution but the wait couldnot be indenite.Denmark is a part o the Core Working Groupon Bhutanese Reugees and since 2008, theresettlement process has seen thousands o Bhutanese reugees being relocated abroad,making it the largest resettlement program inthe world. Denmark has received more than350 reugees, and has committed to acceptingup to 150 Bhutanese reugees rom Nepalannually over the next ew years.Padam and his wie, Bishnu Maya Khadka, who arrived in Denmark 18 months ago romBeldangi 2 Camp, live in a small apartmentin Viborg. Recalling the initial days o hisarrival in Denmark, Padam erupts in laughter,as everything was a unique experience he everhad in his lie.Compared to those o Bhutan and Nepal,the streets here were quiet and empty with very ew vehicles as i it were a strike. Toughthey received the orientation beore arriving,the language was a main barrier. But a sel-determined Padam never hesitated to ask people whenever he was in any trouble. Hestill continues to draw the pictures o whathe wants to buy or shows his CPR to nd hisaddress i he gets lost.Padam is ond o wearing the
Dhaka Topi 
, a traditional Nepalese cap. “Because I can’t speak in Danish, this cap helps me to connect with otherNepalese staying here, mostly the students,” he says. “I can speak with them and now we are a community.”
 
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 Tough it was a tough decision or the Khadka amily to opt or the third country resettlement, it was or the uture o their kids, they came to Denmark to embark on anew journey o lie.

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