Three years ago, fewer than 10 Nepali immigrants took English classes at Adhikaar, a Queens group that supports transplants from the small South Asian nation.
Now, nearly 100 Nepalese, who are part of a flourishing population planting roots in the borough, pack into eight
classes a week with hopes of overcoming one of the biggest obstacles in
their new life -- the language barrier.
QUEENS, N.Y.--Sunita K., a petite, 46-year-old woman with freckled skin, peeked through the door of a 7-Eleven in Queens, trying to catch a glimpse of the person behind the billing counter. She was searching for Indian faces, confused by similar brown-skinned Hispanic ones. A Nepalese immigrant, Sunita speaks only a few words of English and was hoping to find a benevolent Hindi-speaking Indian to give her a job. Any job.
"This is optional," began Luna Ranjit, president of Adhikaar, a Nepali immigrant group in Queens that has just begun a survey of the estimated 30,000 Nepalese who live in the city. "You don't have to answer any of the questions you don't feel comfortable with."