Jeetan Khadka, a former Bhutanese refugee who resettled in Burlington, Vermont in 2008, is a very engaged and active youth who believes in the power of the youth voice to make this world a better place in which to live, love, and grow. Born in Bhutan, Jeetan’s family fled to Nepal when he was one and lived in a refugee camp there for 17 years. Lacking basic needs during his upbringing, Jeetan developed an understanding of different walks and struggles in life early on and became inspired to become a youth advocate and international social worker.
Now a Young Adult Navigator at Spectrum Youth & Family Services in Burlington, Jeetan works with transition-age youths. His mission there is to empower at-risk teenagers, young adults, and their families to make and sustain positive changes through prevention, intervention, and life skills services.
After graduating High School, Jeetan served two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Burlington School District and Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO). During his service, he successfully worked on various community development projects and initiatives. Currently, he serves on Burlington Parks & Recreation commission and on the Governor’s State Standing Committee for Child, Adolescent, and Family Mental Health.
Jeetan was the recipient of the 2012 Herb Bloomenthal Award for Community Activism and the Young Adult Leadership Award through the State of Vermont Youth In Transition program.
As a former refugee, Jeetan is very connected to refugee and immigrant communities in the area. His favorite position by far is being an advisor to Diversity Rocks Youth Group, a group of youth and young adults who have come to Vermont as refugees and immigrants. Diversity Rocks has won two national awards for its youth empowerment video “I Am the World.”
“I am thrilled and humbled to be joining the Chime In as a Youth Ambassador. I have lived 17 years of my life in a refugee camp, and during those horrifying times, somebody cared for, educated, and protected me. Now, I am free and it is the time for me to give back. Though my life in the camp wasn’t the best, it was very meaningful to me. It taught me the true purpose of life. Without that struggle, I wouldn’t have learned that valuable lesson.”
Jeetan Khadka, SESW Founder
Project Name: Sustainable Education for Sustainable World (SE4SW) WWW.SE4SW.ORG
Project Descriptions: Sustainable Education for Sustainable World (SESW) is the project inspired by Chime-In (The Change is Me International) and UN Sustainable Development Goals to Achieve Universal Primary Education for all. The core principle of this project is to Inspire, Connect, and Act though educational initiatives all around the world. Every child is the light of the world and every child deserves the quality and equitable education. In order to attain quality and equitable education, we need to have sustainable educational model. The model, which brings every sector of our community together that, fosters positive, inclusive, and effective learning outcomes.
Goal: We strive to work with the communities around the world to attain self-sustainable education through participation, collaboration, and stewardship.
Project 1: Books4Maya:
Here at SE4SW, we believe in the power of one. One community, one school, and one child at a time can bring sustainable solutions to the problem that our world is facing right now. Beginning of fall this year, se4sw worked with Maya Universe Academy and we helped them purchase books for 100 students. Maya Universe Academy is one of the first free private boarding schools in Nepal. Currently, Maya operates in the village of Udhin Dhinga in Tanahun District and in Udayapur District of the Sagarmatha zone. Both the schools are located among remote mountains and foothills of Himalayan landscape, which adds mesmerizing beauty and peaceful environment for children to learn. It might be surprising for many of us, how can economically poor country like Nepal could provide free education? Well, Maya has its own way. Maya operates under its unique and sustainable education model, student doesn’t have to pay monthly tuitions, and instead their parents volunteer twice a month (per child) at the school or at the farms which school operates. This model ensures commitment from their parents and it also allows opportunity for them to learn.
Project 2: Vermont for Nepal
Shortly after our first project with Maya, Nepal was stroked by massive earthquake which not only took lives of thousands of people it also jeopardized education for 1 million children. We quickly shifted our gear towards helping Nepal in this time of tragic incident. SE4SW founder called the Vermont community together to strategize relief effort for Nepal. From this meeting we came out with the plan to work with Maya Universe Academy, to help them build hostel for children those who were affected by the earthquake. We raised around $9,000 and with that amount we are currently constructing hostel for 25 students. We will continue our effort to provide health, sanitation, and free education for those students in coming years.