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Ghana Rimal: ‘A drop of water – that makes an ocean’

Written by
Sabina Haskell

January 10, 2019


Ghana Rimal

Ghana Rimal’s story is one of patience, perseverance and preparation.

After a decade of living in a refugee camp in Nepal, Ghana Rimal was studying for the interviews required to immigrate to the United States or six other countries.

When he was asked where he wanted to go, he said Vermont, USA. He told them about farmlands and landscapes of Vermont. He had done research about Vermont before making decisions to get resettled, Ghana recalled.

Ghana left Nepal as he was pursuing his master’s degree and working as a math teacher at a private high school. In the United States, many of his college credits wouldn’t transfer. He found himself several credits shy of a bachelor’s degree.

That’s a setback many immigrants face. Years of education and professional experience can be nearly erased at the border. Status earned in one country often doesn’t carry over.

Ghana sees peers struggle to accept this reality. He counsels them and others to persevere.

“Just keep moving, keep rolling on,” he says.

It’s obvious Ghana follows this motto. He is now a father of three children, patiently building his life in Vermont back to what he had in Nepal. With help from VSAC, he used grants to pay for the classes he needed to complete a bachelor’s degree, again.

Ghana would not have been able to do what he did without his family's help. He credits his wife Januka Bastola and appreciates all the household work she did, providing him time to study. He believes all immigrants have similar experiences to him and insists that support from family is vital to success.

Like many nontraditional students, Ghana picked away at his education while working and raising his family. His financial assistance came the same way: in small amounts rather than big scholarships. He advises other students against discouragement.

Ghana Rimal“We always think of the ocean, but we never think of a drop of water. I always go back to think of a drop of water - that makes an ocean,” Ghana says.

Ghana’s goal is to become certified to teach in Vermont public schools and he’s working on his master’s degree at UVM. As part of the program, he’s interning at U32 High School in East Montpelier

He worked as an Instruction Assistant (in math department) at Winooski High School from August 2012 to June 2016 and as a long-term sub for the high school math teacher at Winooski.

It should be no surprise that the math teacher calculated in the pursuit of his goal. Ghana learned about VSAC from colleagues. At the time he didn’t meet the residency requirement for grants. So, on the day he did qualify, he was back at the VSAC office.

He says he found “tremendous support” from VSAC. That’s why he suggests others meet with a VSAC Educational Opportunity Center counselor before making any decisions. That first small step can eventually lead to incredible strides.

He would suggest to fellow friends to take a few courses at times so you can both work and study simultaneously. He knows this will take extra time, but you will get to your goals eventually. “We need to show our future generations that everything is possible if we keep moving... a single step at a time.”

“We can make that impossible to possible,” Ghana says.

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