Meet Ganesh

Ganesh Sutar smiles all the time these days, but for much of his life, he had little to smile about. Born Deaf in a country that lacked the resources to help him, he grew up isolated, learning to communicate only through rudimentary gestures. Then, when war broke out in his native Bhutan, he fled to Nepal, where he lived for 14 years in a refugee camp, suffering hunger and abuse.

But things finally began to look up. Eight years ago, Ganesh and a group of Deaf refugees from the Nepali camp were resettled in Tucson, where they could access specialized assistance from Community Outreach Program for the Deaf.

COPD case workers Lindsay and Amy began working with Ganesh, teaching him mostly sign language at first, which dramatically broadened his interaction with the world. Once they could communicate well enough, they began teaching him life skills—how to budget, shop, use appliances, clean his apartment, ride public transit, use money, pay rent, and even hold down a job.

Learning all this has been a long, long process, but Ganesh couldn’t be happier. He rides the bus every day to two local hotels, where he works as a housekeeper. His co-workers love him and his infectious smile, and he has good roommates who don’t seem to mind his instructions on keeping their apartment clean. He even became a U.S. citizen recently.

Ganesh is grateful for Lindsay and Amy and how much they have helped him.

“I really appreciate you,” he tells them. “I am so happy now. It is better here, better than Nepal.”

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