A Hong Kong-based Nepalese has been in school for 10 years, not to study but to help his compatriots adapt to their new environment while teaching them to love their own culture and national identity.
“I am teaching my culture and language to the Nepali students, helping them adapt to the Hong Kong way of life and giving them all kinds of support,” said Dev Raj Rai, who has been working as a teaching assistant at Pat Heung Central Primary School in Yuen Long for a decade.
Aside from helping Nepali students, Rai also provides translation services to their parents who can’t speak either Cantonese or English, i-Cable reports.
Swastika, a Nepalese pupil at the pimary school, is very grateful for Rai’s help.
Not only did Rai refer her to the school, he also helped her adapt to her new environment.
She said she was always depressed when she was studying in a Chinese primary school because the campus environment made her nervous and uncomfortable.
But in her new school, she feels at ease using her native tongue to learn and express herself – thanks to Rai’s help and encouragement.
She said her mother, who is not good at English, also gets help from Rai’s translation service.
“Rai has contributed more than what the school asked him to do,” the school principal, Irene Lai, said.
“He is not merely a translator, he is helping his nation’s next generation to think about the future.”
Lai said when Nepali schoolchildren or their families face difficulties in Hong Kong, Rai is always there ready to help them out.
Before he migrated to Hong Kong in 2003, Rai worked as a journalist in Nepal.
“I was highly influenced by my father, who spent his whole life helping poor children and families in Nepal,” Rai said. “My father always wanted to change society, and he believed that education is a pathway to achieve this.”
For Rai, seeing his compatriots do well in school is enough reward.
“I feel happy when I see the students thank me with a smile,” he said.
Rai also sees to it that the schoolchildren do not forget their native land.
Every year, he brings the students to attend a memorial activity organized by some former Gurkhas and uses the occasion to help the younger generation learn more about their roots.
He said such activities can help Hong Kong-born Nepali children, who sometimes are caught in an identity crisis because they do not know much about their motherland and culture.
Translation by Chloe Chow
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