Benedictine Sisters of Erie Home Home

Meet SBEC Program Participants

Puspa Koirala

Kula Dhaurali, SBEC staff, and Puspa Koirala

Puspa Koirala (right, pictured with Kula Dhaurali, SBEC staff) and his family arrived as refugees in the US from Nepal in November 2009. “It was as though I was blind” is the way in which Puspa described the challenges of navigating a new country with no language, no work, no cultural understanding – everything was new and unfamiliar. At SBEC he learned to see his way through the maze of cultural challenges along with the paperwork, procedures and possibilities one step at a time.

Today, Puspa is employed full time as a Quality Auditor at Plastikos, Inc., having been promoted twice since joining the company in July 2010. He owns a home and a car, his children are successful in school and he and his wife are now US citizens. “I feel so grateful to SBEC for helping to create a successful life for my family and me after so many challenges in a new country, a new culture.”

His journey was not an easy one yet he brought great effort, determination and faithfulness to his studies at SBEC. Puspa, like other program participants, learned English and computer skills, developed a resume and practiced interviewing for a job. He also spent time in the Factory at SBEC where he was immersed in the rhythm and responsibility of a typical work day. When the staff determined that Puspa had attained the necessary job and language skills, they worked with him through the long and sometimes daunting process of seeking employment. There was great rejoicing when Puspa was offered a full time job, with benefits, at Plastikos, Inc.

Kula Dhaurali, an employment coordinator at SBEC explains: “There is a lot of seasonal and temporary work available in this area. Without the services offered at SBEC, Puspa would probably be in the all-too-typical cycle of a temporary job, period of unemployment, another temporary job, etc.” At SBEC the staff know that such uncertainty is personally demoralizing, traumatic for families, and a drain on societal resources.” Therefore, they strive for placement in full time jobs with benefits for its program participants. Steady work that offers adequate compensation is the best way to bring stability to the families served by SBEC. With this essential foundation, individuals like Puspa can begin to build a life and become productive members of society. “The staff at SBEC were helpful, kind, and knowledgeable. I remain ever grateful to them.” says Puspa.