Hello, my name is Bharat Tamang. I’m a member of the Nepali-speaking Bhutanese community in the United States. My family and I have been here since 2010. Over 75,000 of us Bhutanese have come to the U.S.A. as refugees since 2008. We have come a long way since being forced to leave Bhutan in the early 1990’s. After leaving our homeland, we faced the challenges of living in camps in Nepal for almost two decades – a whole generation, before coming to the U.S. Like many of the refugees who came to the U.S. before us, we were confronted with the difficult tasks of learning English language, adjusting to the culture, and finding ways to support ourselves and our families. The journey has been long and, at times, burdensome. Some of us experienced torture or the heartbreak of being separated from loved ones. There have been long periods of time when we’ve not been able to come together and celebrate our culture or worship as a community. Many of us experienced what is sometimes called “chronic stress,” which weighs us down and threatens to take away our joy in the present and our hope for the future. If we think too much about the past and the losses we’ve had, we are likely to feel sad, or depressed, or angry. If we think too much about the future and the uncertainty we all face, we are likely to feel worried and anxious. We may find ourselves in a situation currently that is creating much distress. For example, we may be unemployed, struggling with drinking or gambling, or a victim of violence. At times like this, it’s helpful to remind ourselves that our life situation is different than our life. Our life situation changes over time, but our life, which is our inmost sense of self – the essence of who we are, remains constant within us, and is connected to the Source of all life. The Buddhist tradition of mindfulness helps us to distinguish between our life situation and our life by focusing on our breath in the present moment. The Hindu sacred texts (Upanishads) remind us that the Spirit of the Universe dwells in our hearts and, in silence, is loving to all. Similarly, the Gospels tell us that the Spirit of God, which we discover in the silence of our hearts, is the energy source that enriches our lives. Our traditional practices (of yoga, meditation and prayer) have taught us that when we open our hearts to the loving presence of this Spirit, we experience healing and a renewed sense of peace and joy. So, I encourage you to continue with your practice of yoga, meditation and prayer. You can start to practice on your own or join such a group in your community. When I talk with people from our community and with other refugees, I am amazed at the strength and resilience of the human spirit. The legacy and qualities of Nepali speaking people to live and thrive in difficult circumstances in Bhutan, Nepal and India, or elsewhere in the Himalayas, indeed continue to inspire our people to endure hardships and overcome incredible challenges. Regardless of their religion, ethnicity, class, jati, or nationality, so many people have been able to transform their pain and loss into something meaningful and good. Their stories have taught me that people who have had violence or trauma befall them, have the inherent ability to heal themselves, and enjoy life again. Here are some stories from community members who were able to overcome significant challenges and find a new sense of hope and meaning in their lives. As you listen to their stories, may you be strengthened and inspired by their message of hope. We had many hurdles to get over. When we went to our medical appointment we had a hard time since we didn’t speak the language. Now it’s been 2 years after arrival and things have turned out comfortable. Everybody has shown interest to help us. To get away from refugee life and determine the future for myself and my heirs, I brought [my children] here. My wife had been suffering and was on regular medication. I was the only working member in the family and my children were in school. Nine months after my arrival here, I was in a car accident. After that my situation got perilous, but I improved from very critical stage aiming for second life and made it through. I am very happy now. I was sick, [but] my thoughts were always what could I do and when could I get well. That was why I visited hospital again and again, visited temple and did fasting at home. Maybe fasting calmed my mind…I eventually got well. …We came from same place, we the people of Nepali origin hold such a feeling that we live in one place and solve problems from that place. But in America it’s not like that; we need to live in [a] different way. [The best] means of living in America is through awareness. Before taking action on anything we need to analyze first. If we do not have knowledge, we need to consult others who know. After analyzing thoroughly, then we take action. Thereafter, if a problem arises…we shouldn’t be scared and run away. These personal stories show how some people have been able to overcome adversity and distress and move on with their lives in a spirit of hope. Please share this video with others who may be struggling with emotional distress, to let them know that it is possible to recover and feel well again. I also invite you to share your own story of healing and hope with those around you. By doing so, you will encourage others who may be going through a similar experience. I also encourage you to take the time to ask the people close to you how they are doing. By doing so, you remind them that someone cares. This seemingly small human act of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life. It may even save a life. If you or someone you know is sick, or has pain, or feels overwhelmed by anxiety, sadness or despair, it is important that you talk with someone who can help you. Please reach out to a trusted friend or community leader or talk with your doctor, case manager, or teacher for help. It is good to have at least one person who knows you well and who you feel comfortable talking with about your concerns. In America, doctors like to know when you are sick and not feeling well. Do not wait until you feel worse and cannot work or sleep or take care of your family. Before you see the doctor, ask for an interpreter, if you need one, and write down your symptoms in your language or tell them to the interpreter. If you do not feel safe or if it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). When you call, there are trained Nepali interpreters available, if you need one. As Nepali-speaking Bhutanese refugees, we truly have come a long way. We have shown great courage in the face of adversity. Many of us have been in the U.S. for over five years now and we are still adjusting to our surroundings and building a life for ourselves and our families. It takes time to feel at home in our new communities. In the meantime, let’s continue to support one another. One way to improve our outlook on life is to spend time helping others, particularly the older and younger generations. When I think of the personal sacrifices our elders made so that we could have a better life, I am filled with gratitude. As I look to the younger generation and see the opportunities they now have and the promise for their future, as full citizens, I am filled with hope. To see these videos of hope completely and in full episodes and to learn about wellness go to www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/refugeehealth.