Voices of Niagara: Bandhan Khabra

Bandhan Khabra, interviewed on 18th April at the Sikh Temple in Niagara Falls, New York,

“My name is Bandhan. I ended up in Niagara Falls, because my parents decided to move here from Long Island, to start building businesses, because they thought this would be a great area, because there were not many businesses they were interested in, in Long Island, and it’s easier to make money here.

In Niagara Falls my life is very busy, I’m involved in a lot of things, socially, in the community, and at my school, so I don’t really get a lot of time to explore Niagara Falls, the area, but I’m everywhere, I’m in Niagara Falls, I’m in Lewiston, Grand Island, I’m everywhere you can imagine me to be and it’s a great area to live in.

I go to Niagara Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, and I’m interested in medicine, science and pharmacy.  I play soft ball, soccer, volleyball, tennis and basketball.  Also, I take medical classes at UB – they’re called Step Classes, they’re for advanced high school kids, and I’m involved in those.  I also went to study abroad in Trinidad and Tobago to help out people who need help in medical and dental care.

Originally I wanted to be a neuroscientist, but then when I went to go and study abroad, it really changed me, because it encouraged me to go around the world and help people… so I was thinking maybe paediatrician, because paediatricians can help kids in all sorts of ways like flu shots, we can go around giving them to everybody.

I fund-raised for Trinidad and Tobago, so we could buy dental supplies, so when we went there we could give free dental care to everybody who needs it.  We did bake sales, car washes, free movies if you buy a ticket, this and that.

I feel that there are so many people out there that need help, medical care, dental care, people who are starving out there, who can’t afford to go and get food – but the main big ones are medical and dental care, because I know a lot of people from my school, they’re sick, but they can’t go to a doctor because they can’t afford it.  Their parents don’t have the money for them to go to the doctor and to get their teeth checked out.  So I feel there should be some kind of care for people who can’t afford medicine and stuff for them to go and get checked out when they need to.

Being a Sikh girl going to a Catholic school is not different than going to a public school, because at a Catholic school – not many people are Catholic who go to this school – there’s people who are Jewish, Muslim, all sorts of religions, and people, they’re not very racist towards you, especially kids. They don’t really care what skin colour you are.  They just want to be your friends and always help you out.  Everybody’s always there for each other, the first thing we look at is the inside of a person’s heart, not what colour skin they are.

Every week there’s a different family, who cooks the food at the church, because of a special occasion, and it doesn’t have to be a special occasion, but it usually is – maybe the birth of a new child – because they feel like helping the community will better them in the future.  If they do something good today, then when they need help, God will be there for them because they helped the community with food, donating money, all sorts of stuff.

We’re going to be cooking the food next week, because it was my sister’s birthday. Usually we cook for at least 150 people, I would say, and everybody eats it.  People who come to pray at our church, people who don’t have time to come to church – they come after work and they can just eat, or before work.  We don’t exclude anybody.  Somebody outside, who’s hungry on the street, they can just come in, and help themselves, and go pray.  They don’t have to be Sikh just to come in here.”

This is an extract.  The full interview will shortly be available on video You Tube.


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