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Nov. 30, 2016

Students from Nepal visit Northwood Elementary School

Sixth grade students at Northwood Elementary School in Hilton had a firsthand opportunity to hear what life is like in Nepal, a landlocked Himalayan country is South Asia. Dipendra Bharati, now an eighth grader at McQuaid Jesuit High School, came to the U.S. in 2009. Manisha Giri, an eighth grader at Nativity Preparatory Academy in Rochester, arrived in the U.S. in 2012. Sandy Castiglia, Northwood teacher, worked with the students in her job with AmeriCorps and as a fifth grade teacher at Nativity Preparatory before she came to Hilton to teach this year. The presentation was timely in that the sixth graders were beginning a unit on World Religion.

Manisha arrived in Rochester with her mother and siblings, but had to leave her father behind because he was from Bhutan and not a refugee at the time. Eventually her father was able to join them. Neither student spoke any English and had to adjust to a completely different life in the U.S.

Dipendra’s family lived in a refugee camp in Nepal before coming to the U.S. He described the red and green stoplights that he saw when first driving from the airport in Rochester thinking that they signified a holiday celebration. In addition to their Hindu religion, the students described their holidays, food, the geography of Nepal and education.

Both Manisha and Dipendra experienced corporal punishment as students in Nepal, as well as life in refugee camps with minimal electricity and technology, great acts of violence and disease. “I’m so grateful to be here,” said Manisha. “The teachers are so kind. I hope you appreciate what you have.”