NOTE: Dhan Tamang, a Bhutanese refugee, is set to perform at Omaha’s World Refugee Day celebration at Benson High School on Saturday, June 21. He talked with Appleseed intern Conner Kozisek for this post.
At the age of 30, Dhan Tamang came to the United States from Bhutan as a refugee. Prior to this, Dhan had spent 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. “It was very miserable,” Dhan said, describing his “life of scarcity” in the camp.
Despite the challenges facing him, Dhan obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from North Point, Darjeeling, India, in 2007 and worked as a teacher in Nepal.
In 2013, Dhan came to Omaha through Lutheran Family Services. Soon after his arrival, he began working as a part-time medical interpreter, and was also employed by Tyson Foods and Walmart. Currently, Dhan is working with SSCA Omaha (formerly called the Southern Sudan Community Association) as a part-time case manager and a Nepali interpreter in Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) classes, as well as with Lutheran Family Services.
On top of this, Dhan is a full-time employee at First Data, and he is planning to attend the University of Nebraska – Omaha to further his education. Dhan said SSCA Omaha and other local community organizations and churches have not only provided important language and job services, but also a welcoming spirit, so that Bhutanese newcomers “feel Omaha is our home.”
Dhan enjoys music, and began singing at the age of fifteen while still in Nepal. “We had formed a musical band and did concerts at several places in Nepal,” Dhan explained. “Recently, I have released an album titled ‘Euta Tara,’ which means ‘a star.’”
Dhan plays the guitar and harmonium and performs modern, rock, pop, and folk Nepali songs. He has performed at several events in Omaha and surrounding states, and he is set to perform at Omaha’s World Refugee Day celebration at Benson High School on Saturday, June 21. He will have copies of his CD available to buy at this event.