First Bhutanese Refugees in Madison become U.S. Citizens

Harka and Sancha Limbu and their family were the first Bhutanese refugees to be resettled in Madison in 2009. Part of a Nepali-speaking minority in their home country, Harka and Sancha spent decades in United Nations refugee camps in Nepal before being received by the United States as refugees.

Almost immediately upon arriving in Madison, Harka and Sancha decided the best thing they could do for themselves and their kids was to learn English.

They started classes at Literacy Network, beginning with few English skills beyond writing their own names and basic information. This spring, after ten years of classes and tutoring at Literacy Network, Harka and Sancha, alongside their son, achieved their U.S. citizenship! When asked why getting their citizenship is important to them, Harka’s response was simple: “I believe in America.”

In their time in Madison, Harka and Sancha have worked hard – at one point, Sancha worked three jobs. Today, they are proud homeowners and provide stability for their daughter, a student at West High School, and their son, who is pursuing a firefighter certification at Madison College. Working as custodial workers, English language skills and U.S. citizenship are important factors for Harka and Sancha to improve their employment too. Stronger English skills and citizenship will help them reach their next goal of jobs with better hours, better wages, and better benefits. To his Literacy Network teachers and tutors, Harka says “many, many thanks to Literacy Network.”

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