'I feel like a free bird': Former refugee reflects on life in America

Reflecting on World Refugee Day

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's hard to imagine what life is like without a home. But that's the harsh reality for more than 20 million refugees across the globe.

Over the years, thousands have settled here in the Carolinas, including Hari Dhimal, who now works at Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency (CRRA).

When a refugee arrives in Charlotte, CRRA assists with the transition. They can receive temporary assistance with everything from housing, to language training and job placement. Hari's job is helping clients find the right jobs for them.

"We help find them a full-time job, not part-time. And the majority of my clients, they always want to work. They're hard workers," he said.

There's no one better to guide them through the process than someone who's nervously sat where they are now.

"Life here is beautiful," Hari said.

Hari is originally from Bhutan but his family was forced to flee their homeland after an oppressive government killed his grandfather. He spent the next 18 years of his life living in a refugee camp in Nepal.

"When I had a pair of shoes, I think I was in grade, maybe eighth," he said.

Hari was given refugee status in 2009 and came to the US with his family. He started working right away and now spends most of his days at CRRA connecting refugees with local employers.

Hari is as proud a US citizen as they come and gives all the credit in the world to this country. He just hopes, on World Refugee Day and every day, others continue to get the opportunity he did.

"I feel like a free bird now, like I can fly and I can choose any trees to make my nest. I have a place called home now," he said.

Hari is also going to college for the first time. Last semester he earned straight A's and was named to the president's list.

For more information about CRRA, visit http://carolinarefugee.org/.

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