Meet Bakti, Religious Persecution Survivor from Bangladesh
When Bakti came to PTV, he wore his mental and physical fatigue like a heavy cloak. Bakti had escaped Bangladesh after a life long struggle to practice his Buddhist faith peacefully in the homeland he revered.
Bakti, his wife Sopa, and their 16 year old son Taji fled Bangladesh in 2012 after a massive wave of violence targeted the Buddhists in the country. As a prominent community organizer, Bakti worked tirelessly to support his Buddhist neighbors who were being attacked, had their temples burned to the ground, and were subjected to unending harassment and brutality. One night, after a community meeting, Bakti was gruesomely beaten and left unconscious with a broken leg and bleeding head wound. This final incident forced his family to flee.
In the United States, Bakti was plagued with restlessness and anxiety. He couldn’t sleep without having physical fits and his waking hours were filled with fears of being sent back. His family’s arduous task navigating the asylum process in their native language, Bengali, resulted in missed appointments and ongoing frustrations.
When he was referred to us, Bakti worked closely with a PTV therapist and a trusted translator. Bakti spent hours with his PTV team who worked to produce a psychological evaluation. These sessions also helped him manage the confusion and anxieties that emerged as he revisited the past. PTV’s medical director wrote up key findings for a medical forensic report. These reports would be critical to establishing credibility in court for his family’s forthcoming asylum case.
“Finally,” he said, “I can be understood. I have such relief to tell my story and know that the truth of my case will be heard.” Then one afternoon in March, the family arrived at PTV with papers in hand. After so much uncertainty, their family had won their asylum case and were finally free to imagine a future in the United States.
Of life since getting asylum, Bakti reports finally feeling safe, Sopa reports that she can sleep without fear of being physically hurt by her husband’s nightmares, and Taji reports that he can breathe a little easier and focus on his own dreams as a young man in the U.S.
PTV helps families like Bakti’s year-round and has since 1980. Your gifts to this year’s Human Dignity Campaign means that we can continue to be there, serving individuals and families from around the world with their unique needs whether they be medical, therapy, case management or legal needs so that they, too, can find safety and rebuild their lives anew. We thank you for joining us in this critical work.