Rakesh moved to Vermont in 2014 when he was 19 years-old. A Bhutanese native, Rakesh was expelled from the country after the “One Nation, One People” policy was adopted and Bhutanese minorities were forced to leave Bhutan. At age 11, Rakesh, his uncle, and his brother moved to Nepal and lived in Beldangi 2 Refugee Camp for eight years.
When they came to Vermont, Rakesh barely spoke any English. Under the recommendation of his high school teacher, Rakesh entered ReSOURCE’s training programs to learn new skills and become familiar with English.
Rakesh started in our Helping Hand volunteering program where he sorted donations and organized store inventories. During his senior year in high school, he went on to join our Career Path program and learned how to fix large appliances with Rich Lavallee. Rakesh and Rich built a strong friendship—sharing topics about food, machines, Rakesh’s life in Bhutan, and fun activities they enjoy.
Rich exclaimed, “Rakesh was awesome! He picked up everything really fast, I enjoyed having him here…It was a little harder in the beginning, he was a lot quieter…I think he got a lot more confident at the end; definitely a little bit more outgoing.”
Rich’s response resonated with Rakesh, who explained, “Richard is nice, friendly…My experience is different [referring to his immigration from Nepal] – he doesn’t make fun of me you know? I feel good when I go there, I feel like my brother is teaching me.”
By the end of the program, Rakesh contributed a total of 400 service hours and could now fix large appliances on his own. Rakesh also mentioned that he became comfortable talking in English through the consistent interactions he had with Rich and customers.
Currently, Rakesh works at the Howard Center as the Development Specialist while taking math and science courses at Community College of Vermont to prepare for a four-year college degree. While he doesn’t have a career in mind yet, Rakesh is saving money to buy a house with his uncle and brother. In the future, he hopes to bring his father to Vermont from India and have the entire family reunite. ReSOURCE is proud to be part of Rakesh’s journey adjusting to life in Vermont.