The recipients of the award this year are two outstanding women: Lulé Auden and Gita Dhakal. The awards were presented at the Community Room, City Market, 207 Flynn Avenue in Burlington on November 20th at 5 pm.
About Gita Dhakal:
Born in Bhutan, Gita Dhakal and her husband found themselves as teachers and refugees in Nepal. Gita, her husband, daughter and son began their new lives in Burlington in 2011, believing in America as the land of opportunity, and seeking a better quality of life. The transition to their new home was mentally and financially stressful, but they persevered. At first, working fulltime as a hotel housekeeper for $8.00 an hour, Gita was the sole provider for the family. Her husband was suffering from debilitating migraine headaches. After 7 months they bought a car. Four years later, they were both working and they bought a condo, moving out of their small apartment. Knowing what refugees go through as they transition to living in Vermont, Gita started volunteering at Parent University and the Vermont Hindu Temple, as well as translating for many people. This helped to prepare her to become a Community Ambassador for CVOEO’s Financial Futures Program. As a Community Ambassador she helps Nepali community members to develop their financial skills and to increase their financial wellness. Gita has come full circle.
About Lulé Auden:
The 1991 Somali Civil War sent Lulé Aden’s parents to Kenya, where she was born. In 2004, an eight-year-old Lulé and her parents moved to Boise, Idaho. After a year there, they spent a year in Massachusetts, and then coming to Vermont in 2007. After arriving in the USA, Lulé became the family middle person, helping her parents to navigate between two cultures. As a student, she developed her communication skills and began to advocate for resources for herself. As her English skills developed she began interpreting for her non-English speaking parents. Translating papers, interpreting at appointments and writing bills became part of her everyday life. Despite her parents’ language and cultural barriers that did not stop them from finding ways to support her and her success as well. Overcoming their lack of knowledge of and access to resources, her parents always supported her with anything that she needed. Their support culminated in the spring of 2019 when Lulé proudly earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies from UVM. Her experiences and support along the way has led her to and prepared her for her role as the UVM Program Coordinator for Leadership & Social Change.