My parents made a life changing decision to leave India and immigrate to the United States in April, 2000 to give their daughters a better future. We arrived to the U.S. on different planes. It still surprises me that my parents sent me, all of 16 years old, on an international flight and go through immigration all alone! My parents chose Buffalo, NY because my uncle was already settled here.
As a former professor, my dad had to look for a job in his 40’s and my mom had to look for an alternate career. Luckily Dad found a temp job to start providing for the family and Mom took up a job at a motel. As a teenager, it was exciting and equally challenging to fit in at a new high school.
We never complained about anything and instead celebrated little things, such as a great find at the thrift store or listening to old Bollywood songs at home together. The hardships we experienced only made the opportunities that much more valuable and our family bond tighter. The local Indian community provided a sense of belonging and a connectivity to the culture we had left behind.
Buffalo has given me the opportunity to grow closer to my family, get an education, have amazing friends, meet my husband, have my son and now start my passionate venture – Kulture Khazana. My passion is to help other families across the U.S. reconnect with their Indian roots and learn about the vibrant culture. My husband and I are involved with a few nonprofits and try our best to give back, as this place has given us a home.
Every year we complain about the winters but never discuss moving away from Buffalo and its warmth. After almost 19 years now, Buffalo is where I belong. It’s my home.
East Amherst, NY
Making Buffalo Home is a two-year, in-depth Buffalo Toronto Public Media engagement initiative to inform and raise awareness of immigration for our entire community. The project aims to help the region develop a better understanding of the shared opportunities and challenges we face together as long-time residents and new immigrants and refugees.
Making Buffalo Home is funded by Rich Products Corporation and Rich Family Foundation.