HAF is excited to announce Aakriti Bhattarai, an incoming sophomore majoring in computer science with a minor in linguistics at Duke University, as the winner of the 2022 HAF Bhutanese Hindu American Scholarship program. Aakriti will receive a scholarship of $1000 dedicated to her academic success.
In her winning application, Aakriti eloquently described her Bhutanese Hindu identity as follows: “To me, the term Bhutanese is synonymous with bravery and grit. It represents the hardships my family faced in Bhutan. The emptiness they must have felt getting kicked out of the only place they knew as home. It symbolizes the life they rebuilt in the refugee camps, the bamboo houses we lived in. It marks the time in my parents’ life when money was limited, yet they were still successful in obtaining an education and fulfilling the needs of themselves and two children. Everyday, I wear the label Bhutanese with pride, a symbol of hardships and successes in a world of unknowns. Though a religion, being Hindu to me is more than that. It has shaped my everyday values, gave me a community I can count on, and inserted me into the musical world. The moments I sit before my harmonium are moments I treasure; a sense of compassion and connection to my religion and family no object has brought me. It has taught me the importance of giving back and being a consistent motivator for all my successes.”
Upon winning the scholarship, Aakriti said, “This scholarship will help eliminate the financial stressors that come with higher education in the United States, allowing me to further my education without any barriers. I am beyond grateful for this gift and cannot wait to continue representing the Bhutanese Hindu Community at Duke.”