Dambar Kadariya is
Passionate about Direct Support
In 2001, Dambar Kadariya won the lottery. He didn’t score $50 million, but, for him, receiving word that he had been one of 50,000, chosen for a Diversity Visa-- out of worldwide applicant pool of 30 million--to come to the United States, was nearly as exciting. “It was like winning Powerball,” the Nepal native says, laughing.
Nine months of paperwork and bureaucracy later, Dambar’s plane touched down in New England, and he and his wife and unborn child were set to start a new life in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Now, eight years later, Dambar is a successful Direct Support Professional, serving his eighth year as an employee of Moore Center Services, in Manchester. New Hampshire. His work as a direct support professional is something he is passionate about. So much so that he received numerous awards and most recently was recognized as the ANCOR Foundation’s Direct Support Professional of the year, 2010 for the state of New Hampshire!
“Dambar is a go-getter,” says Linda Perry, his supervisor at the community residence where Dambar cares for three individuals with developmental disabilities. “His relationship with the clients he serves is really good. He treats them with respect and in turn they respect him and will attempt whatever he’s asking.”
Dambar’s story begins in a small village called Mehele, located in the eastern end of Nepal. He grew up in this remote farming community where 60% of the village had no electricity. The buses rarely used the poorly maintained roads. High school was three hours away and college was even further, a three days’ walk. Yet he was determined to maximize his schooling and as he pursued his academic career, a common theme presented itself: Dambar’s compulsion to work with people. He earned his degree in education and economics and returned to Mehele to teach high school and eventually become the principal. And as a harbinger of what would await him in his second life, he was active in the disability community in his village. “It’s not like over here,” he says. “There are no agencies offering services to people with disabilities. All of the villagers are farmers and they have to work all day and if they have a child with a disability, often he or she isn’t given as much attention. It’s not that they don’t care. They just don’t have the time.”
So Dambar stepped in, helping out with whatever needs he could meet, providing clothes or food or just friendship. “I just wanted to see what I could do to help,” he says.
He had no idea that this calling would eventually transform into a successful career, and the application for the Diversity Visa would prove to be the key.
Despite the life he had been building in Nepal, Dambar wanted more; he wanted to see the world, find a place in a healthier economy and sidestep an increasingly volatile political situation in Nepal. Defying enormous odds, Dambar got that visa and nine months later he joined his brother Chandra in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. His first job was as a per diem respite provider, before joining Moore Center Services as a full-time direct support staff.
As I interviewed Dambar about his work and his life I asked him to describe for me some of the things that motivate him. “I’m not doing it just for a paycheck,” he says. “Our clients, they are special people. But they need help and I get to help them. Yes, it is still work, but it feels like family.”
I asked Dambar if he could describe how he felt when he was recognized by the ANCOR Foundation (a national organization) as the state of New Hampshire Direct Support Professional of the year and by the New Hampshire Developmental Disability Council and the Community Support Network as one of the state’s best Direct Support Professionals. Dambar’s response - “I wasn’t expecting to win,” he says. “I feel like the hard work I did was recognized, and it made be proud to be a part of the Moore Center.”
This recognition brought a new sense of celebrity to Dambar, as he recalls the day he was walking in the mall and someone approached him and said: “Hey Dambar! Congratulations on winning DSP of the Year!”Because Dambar is a man whose life has been defined by humility and selflessness, this kind of recognition is not something he is comfortable with. At the end of our conversation, however, Dambar exclaimed “It was totally unexpected, what a great feeling!”