Laxmi Biswa was four years old when her father carried her on his shoulder across the border to India, joining other Bhutanese forced out of their country. The refugees were packed into trucks and dumped in Nepal’s Jhapa district.
Born in Phuntosling, Laxmi grew up in the family homestead in Samchi. She was among 100,000 other Nepali-speakers driven out by the Bhutan regime starting 1990. Laxmi spent 16 years in a bamboo shed in Sector E of Sanischare refugee camp, and went to a school supported by the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
She had just started college in Biratnagar when her family was brought to the United States in 2008 under an international third-country repatriation program. The US took a bulk of the refugees, while fewer numbers were settled in Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK.
Who stands with Bhutanese refugees in Nepal?, Bhuwan Gautam and T P Mishra
Laxmi continued her undergraduate studies, working part-time to pay for her education. She is now enrolled in a medical science course at the University of Kansas and works at the AdventHealth Shawnee Mission where she has to care for COVID-19 patients.
The US state of Kansas has over 8,000 confirmed cases, and is seeing a daily addition of 400 new infections. The statewide death toll has crossed 180.
On 6 May, Laxmi Biswa suddenly got a call from Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra after being selected among five female frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus.