Refugee to Registered Nurse: Blacktown Hospital’s Ram Khatiwada rebuilds life in Australia with two young sons

Davin, Ram, Devansh

Ram Khatiwada has been in the nursing profession in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) for nine years, but his journey has not been an easy one.

Upon being advised by the government that his birthplace of Bhutan was no longer a safe place to live, a 13-year-old Ram with his parents, left for Nepal and took refuge in a refugee camp for 20 years.

However, two decades later, Ram and his wife Iswara were informed that they, along with approximately 100,000 other refugees, were neither be able to return to their birth country nor granted Nepalese citizenship.

In the hopes of building a better life, Ram, Iswara and their 15-month-old son Devansh packed their bags for Australia in 2010.

“We arrived in Australia, and [at first] it was really hard,” Ram said.

“Not so much the language, as I could speak some English, but with understanding new systems such as registering for Medicare and Centrelink.

“Thankfully we were assisted with case managers to help.”

Getting his head around a career as a Registered Nurse in a new country was however a whole other ball game, Ram finding the role tough as a new starter.

“I was previously at teacher, then went to TAFE and University in Australia to become a Registered Nurse,” Ram said.

“The challenge in doing this was trying to understand the culture, different policies and unfamiliar processes involved.”

Ram said that now he has well and truly found his feet, his journey is smooth and is “proud to have earned a professional degree and now have a job where I can make a difference in the community at Blacktown Hospital”.

As for his son Devansh, he’s now 14-years-old and has “enjoyed growing up in Australia” alongside 11-year-old younger brother Davin who was born after the family moved to Australia.

“My sons are happy because they have different kinds of opportunities here,” Ram said.

“If they want to learn soccer or other sports, then then can, and they are also doing well at their studies.”

The family lives happily in the Penrith local government area and are thankful to everyone who has helped them on their journey to, and within, Australia.

“I would like to thank my family, teachers, the Bhutan government for my education, the Nepalese government for helping us to survive for 20 years and for my high school and university education, the Australian government for granting us residency, and my employer, Blacktown Hospital, for allowing me to use my skills and knowledge as a Registered Nurse,” Ram said.

“I’m a proud Aussie now too!”