Ram - From Refugee to Rural Advocate
Born in a Bhutanese Refugee Camp in Nepal, Ram knows first-hand what a lack of basic medical services can do to a community. For the first 16 years of his life, he saw people in his refugee camp dying every day from preventable diseases like influenza and malaria. It was these tragic experiences that shaped his determination to be a doctor.
The hardships of living in a refugee camp and going to school in a tent with no electricity, desks or even chairs ended in 2009 when Ram and his family were settled in Australia through the Permanent Humanitarian Visa Program. “It felt amazing to land in Sydney with the excitement and hope of starting a new and better life. The same day we travelled to our new home town of Albury… it was like a dream come true,” Ram said.
Although he could barely speak or understand English, Ram started Year 10 at a local high school just a month later. He went on to achieve Dux of his school in Year 12 – a testament to his dedication and sheer hard work. It was then he realised his dream of becoming a doctor could be achievable.
He is currently in his second year of a medical science degree at the Australian National University, and plans to fulfill his dream to be a rural doctor and give back to the community of Albury.
Receiving a RAS Foundation Rural Scholarship in 2013 and 2014 has taken the financial pressure off and allowed Ram to focus on his studies. “My family faces extreme financial challenges due to our refugee background. The Scholarship has helped me pay for my student accommodation and education resources. It has made a massive difference in my life and really boosted my desire to work in rural NSW”.