Kewal Basnet (Scene)
Kewal Basnet overcame tremendous challenges to come to Canada. In the book Give Voice, Open Your Ears! he shares those challenges with the reader. It is a book that was written through the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba's (IRCOM)
afterschool program. The book
incorporates writing, visual art and music as a means for participants
to express their life experiences.
Here are excerpts from his heartwarming Give Voice, Open Your Ears! story:
Bhutan was an isolated and peaceful country...however, the situation and sustainability could not remain when the ruling Drukpa launched the policy of "one nation and one people"...We were not allowed to be ourselves...the government imposed martial law and started killing, arresting, and torturing our innocent people. Schools in our region were closed and books of the Nepali language were burnt. Many woman were widowed, children missed their parents, and jobs were seized.
I was mournful to leave home...We left behind all of our belongings...It took us a month to arrive n Nepal and to take refuge in the camp. In the refugee camp, many people died....we had to live in a hut with a plastic roof...The frequent assaults from the the local people, exclusion across society, and ultimately demise of my loving parents worsened my situation in the camp.
Despite various obstacles and difficult situations full of uncertainties, I kept hoping things would get better. No one wishes to be a refugee.
Finally, the Canadian government agreed to let a few hundred Bhutanese refugees into Canada... I am now a permanent resident of Canada and no longer a refugee. I am happy being a Canadian with my own identity and hope for the future....My daughter can get a good education and can be anything she wants."
The Give Voice, Open Your Ears! book launch takes place at The Graffiti Gallery on Thursday, April 21st at 7 p.m.