What a former refugee can add to a growing Kiwi business | ELPNZ

What a former refugee can add to a growing Kiwi business

23 May 2016

Mark Sanders (above left) owns a small cabinetmaking business and says that he considers himself fortunate to have a former refugee working for him.

Thupten’s Tsering (above right) arrived in Nepal, then India, after a harrowing escape from Tibet. In 2015 he came to New Zealand as a refugee to join his brother Dhondrup. His brother had been working in Mark’s cabinetmaking business for six months.

“As demand for our services grew early last year, a position became available for Thupten to work as a trainee when he arrived,” says Mark.

“As with his brother, I was impressed by his cheerful and conscientious disposition, and I soon found that he is a quick learner, lateral thinker, and pays great attention to detail in all he does.

“I have enjoyed listening to stories of his childhood, growing up in a remote village in Tibet, with no roads, electricity, running water or even school, a truly self-sufficient community. This has resulted in a great ‘can do’ attitude, and the ability to find solutions to any situation he is confronted with.”

Mark says Thupten has become an invaluable part of his growing business, despite the barriers of language and education. “I really cannot speak highly enough of him both as a trainee cabinetmaker, and as a person of great integrity, reliability and common sense, and our country can only be enhanced by the migration of a person of such all-round quality.”

Read Thupten's own story of escape from Tibet.

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Photo: Dawn Dutton