18-year-old Bala Diyali is a Bhutanese refugee living in Western Washington. But language and culture differences have made fitting in difficult.
Bala does his homework under the watchful eye of his older brother, Dal. Learning English is one of the biggest challenges facing any refugee.
For most of their childhood, Bala, Dal and Bal lived with their parents in a refugee camp in Nepal. The family was forced out of Bhutan amid political and cultural strife.
Dal, Bala and Bal spent more than 15 years at one of seven UN refugee camps in Nepal. In the 1990s, more than 100,000 Bhutanese were forced to live in camps.
With almost no hope of returning to Bhutan, the Diyali family arrived at Sea-Tac Airport with few belongings and little money, but hope for a better life.
Bala plays soccer with other teenagers from Bhutan outside their apartment complex in Tukwila. The Diyali family was welcomed by a growing Bhutanese community in Tukwila.
More than 900 Bhutanese refugees now call Tukwila home. Shared stories of struggle and resettlement help bond this growing community.
Refugees try to retain social, cultural and religious traditions while adjusting to a new life in America.
Bala shares his story at a meeting of the Seattle Refugee Youth Project. They are taking part digital storytelling project to show the challenges of resettling in the U.S.
19-year-old Bishnu Magar is taking part in the digital storytelling project. Her family was forced from Bhutan after 16 years in a refugee camp. She hopes to become an artist.
Bala works with Allison Myers from the Center for Digital Storytelling. The CDS and other groups hope the project will promote successful refugee integration to the U.S.