CBC News Posted: Apr 18, 2012 12:39 PM MT Last Updated: Apr 18, 2012 12:07 PM MT
By the end of the year 5,000 refugees from the small South Asian country of Bhutan will call Canada home, with hundreds of them settling in Lethbridge.
Dan Bahdur Gurung, a refugee from Bhutan, is one of hundreds from that country making Lethbridge home. (CBC)
Dan Bahdur Gurung, his wife and two children landed in Canada seven months ago.
So far his daughter is the only one who understands English. The rest of the family is struggling to adjust.
Nearly 20 years ago the Gurungs were among 100,000 people forced from Bhutan into refugee camps in neighbouring Nepal.
Now those people are slowly being resettled around the world. Canada is one of seven countries that agreed to take refugees from the camps.
“It’s probably becoming one of the larger ethnic communities in Lethbridge,” said Sarah Amies, who works with Lethbridge Immigrant Services.
Over the last three years the agency has welcomed more than 500 Bhutanese refugees to the city.
For most of them, integration is a challenge. But it helps to be in a smaller centre, Amies said.
“It’s closer, it’s less difficult to get around, there’s English language available, settlement services,” she said.
According to Gurung, the biggest frustration is the language barrier.
He said he doesn’t get enough English lessons. But until he learns the language his future here is uncertain, he said.
Adhikr said he wishes there were more services available, especially English classes.