As published in The Advertiser.
Written by Jade Gailberger.
Education is at the heart of one Bhutanese family’s new life in Adelaide.
Mother Bee Maya Tamang and father Mangal Singh Gurung arrived in the city with their three children, Karma Dorji Tamang, 15, Nabin Tamang,13 and Jenisha Gurung, 5, this month.
In Bhutan, a country in south Asia, the family felt forced to do “many unfair things” under government control, including learn a new language.
Unable to practise their customs, religion and native language, Mr Gurung said they had “no rights, no freedom, no jobs and could not go to school”. “We were treated as non-nationals, were stripped of our land and forced to leave our country,” he says.
They left for Adelaide to give their sons the freedom to get an education.
“My children want to go to school and university,” Mr Gurung says. “Karma, my oldest son, wants to be a doctor — this means a good future. I want to learn English well and get a job here to support my family.”
Karma and Nabin will attend Adelaide Secondary School of English, while Jenisha is enrolled at Salisbury North Primary School.
The boys say they are grateful to teachers at school who teach them how to read and write English — “they make it easy for me to learn,” Karma says.
“The children love the school, wear uniforms, are really very happy to learn new things and learn to speak English,” Mr Gurung says.
Since arriving in South Australia, the family has had several new experiences, including a trip on a plane, bus and train for the first time. Mr Gurung says even he had never seen a multi-storey carpark before, and that all the buildings in Adelaide are beautiful.
“Here the streets have got flowers, people are friendly and it is a clean city,” he says. “(We’re) so happy to live in a house. We can go to the park to play soccer.” Mr Gurung says they were all excited to enjoy a new life, anew start, and spend time with relatives.
“We want to buy a house in five years’ time,” he says.