I am: Jamphel

My Story:

When I was four years old, my family and I crossed the Himalayas, fleeing Tibet, the country I was born in. We moved to India where I spent much of my life. 

Just like any refugee, my family had a hard time when we first arrived. However, my grandmother laid the foundation for our family with her determination and hard work. Because of this, my brother and I had relatively normal childhood like any other kid.

After my parents got a divorce, I lived a transient life, living with my mom up north in India and part of the time in Bangalore, in the south. In 2004, my father passed away which deeply affected me.

In 2008, my mother came to New York City, and a year later I followed her. It was a hard change, as it took me quite a while to adapt to the new surroundings. I was departing from my close friends who were more like a family to me. Although I am gradually adjusting to my new life here in New York, I am excitedly looking forward to graduating high school and going to college, which I hope will help me find myself again.




“The problems that new immigrants face assimilating into the United States are more complex than people realize..”

Japhnel-Reel Lives

My film will follow the journey of three recent immigrants in New York City over the course of one day. It will show how we walk this line between adapting to their new environment and holding on to their own cultural identity, and explore the obstacles they are facing in terms of integration.


Tags: Migration, Self-esteem, Courage, Tradition



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