Aita Biswa

My name is Aita Singh Biswa. I was born in Bhutan and grew up in a Christian family. I was uncertain about my future because getting an education at that time was very difficult. The schools were far away from my village and people had to walk at least five hours to attend class. My parents didn’t send me to school.

When I was ten years old there was discrimination in Bhutan between Drukpa and Lokshampas people, with many violations of human rights. Drukpa means native of Bhutan and Lokshampa means migrant - from India and Nepal. The Bhutanese government sent the army to arrest the people who broke the discriminatory laws of Bhutan. At that time many people were killed, some people were taken to jail, many women were violated by the army, but luckily my family were saved and escaped to a refugee camp in Nepal.

In the refugee camp UNHCR, the Red Cross, and CARITAS Nepal helped us with food, shelter, and education. We also got help from many different churches. I had always trusted in God, and when I was living in the camp I had good fellowship in different churches.

One day, in February 2009, there was a special meeting in a church named Dharan. The church was made of bamboo and plastic and it had three floors. Thousands of people were in the church.

After the meeting many people chose to sleep on top of the extensions, because it was cooler there. I was just falling asleep in the first floor room when suddenly the church started shaking.

At first nobody realized what was happening. Then everybody started running here and there. I quickly ran outside and I saw a terrible storm. After some time the church slowly fell down for it was fragile. 24 people were killed and 62 were injured. The injured people were taken to hospital. I thanked God for saving me.

After this accident I started my third country settlement process through UNHCR. At last the New Zealand government accepted me.

I was very happy to come to New Zealand. When I arrived here in January 2010 I quickly forgot all my pain and sorrow.

The New Zealand government gave me shelter, the unemployment benefit, and education for my survival. I also found many churches and many believers.

Although I enjoy being in New Zealand, the image of my motherland is engraved on the core of my heart. Whenever my heart aches, I want to be in my own land, my motherland.