New America Media
September 18, 2012
On January 11, 2011, Jhuma Acharya arrived in Providence, RI after a journey that began in 1992, in Bhutan, a country tucked between India and China whose government forced ethnic minorities to leave their homes. At age 15, Acharya fled Bhutan with his family to a refugee camp in Nepal, where he spent 17 years before finding an opportunity to permanently resettle. His story is not unlike so many others who come to America seeking refuge, freedom, and a community to call home.
The timing of Acharya’s arrival in the United States was fortuitous. Rhode island’s new Governor had just assumed office and the welcome mat was warming. Providence, like many states, has been impacted by one of the most significant demographic shifts in immigration in American history. In fact, Rhode Island has one of the highest proportions of foreign-born people in the U.S., ranking 13th at 12.8 percent.