After Bhutan, a Refugee Finds a Home in Utica

His early life was defined by statelessness, the act of being denied citizenship. In his refugee camp, he witnessed the deaths of many people — including children — as a result of bad sanitation, the lack of nutritious food and poor health care.

Bikash Regmi was born in Bhutan, a small Himalayan kingdom between Asia and China, however, his family was forced to leave his birthplace when he was 7 years old.

He then spent almost 17 years in a refugee camp in Nepal.

His early life was defined by statelessness, the act of being denied citizenship. In his refugee camp, he witnessed the deaths of many people — including children — as a result of bad sanitation, the lack of nutritious food and poor health care. These experiences and untold miseries fed his drive and inspired him to pursue a career in the health field, allowing him to provide care and compassion to needy and less fortunate people.

Regmi and his family decided to move to the U.S. in hope of finding a better life. He resettled in Syracuse in September 2009 and moved to Utica in 2012 to continue his education. His father always taught him how valuable education was and that he should always remember that the government in Bhutan took everything from him, but they could never take away his urge for education.

It was here that his journey to achieve his dream of serving others began. Currently he is a nurse practitioner for Mohawk Valley Health System. Regmi is also involved in organizing charitable events, including a breast cancer awareness program and a blood drive for fellow refugees. He serves on the advisory board for the Munson Williams Proctor Museum. He was also the student representative for the SUNY Poly Nursing Curriculum Committee and received the Clinical Excellency Award, Student Star for On Point and the 2017 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

He is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing. He was also selected to receive American Red Cross HEROES for the Blood Donor Award also serves as an adjunct faculty at SUNY Poly. Throughout the interview, he talks about his journey to America and emphasizes the fact that Utica has done so much for him and his family, so much, that he can’t help but want to give back to the community.

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Bikash and his family, enjoying Arohi’s first birthday party. (Photo by Jayson Bretton)

With all of his high honors, people might be curious as to how he was able to be so successful. That is mostly because Regmi loves the community and finds pride and joy in being a role model to his now 1-year-old daughter. He wants her to understand how fortunate they are to be where they are today, despite what life used to be like in refugee camps. He hopes that in the future she can look at how their life was before coming to America and compare it to her life growing up.

With that, Regmi said, she should be able to realize why it is important to give back to the area that raised her.

Watch his story and come back Dec. 4 for a longer documentary featuring Regmi.

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