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Meet P.J Parmar of Mango House in East Colfax

Today we’d like to introduce you to P.J Parmar.

P.J, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started a private medical practice serving refugees after I finished residency, about eight years ago. A couple of years later I started Mango House, a shared space for refugee services, including a Scout Troop for refugees. In the last year, we moved Mango House into a bigger facility and expanded services, including refugee owned restaurants and stores. I’m thankful for my amazing staff, volunteers, and tenants. I’m not so thankful for the University of Colorado ER fax machine which thinks we need 40 pages every time our patients show up there with a cold.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Things are easy when one is comfortable with risk, and unproductive if one isn’t. Some challenges have been changing federal policies on healthcare and refugees, domestic terrorism, family court, IRS audits, making roti round, nonprofits, FQHCs, rich people who don’t help others, our grease trap, Iraqis who love antibiotics, specialists who don’t take Medicaid, heroin use in my bathrooms, social media, tenants late on rent, Scouts making a mess when they cook, contractors, and anything else that doesn’t go my way. j/k.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Mango House is the largest facility serving refugees in this state with over fifteen thousand visits a year and the only such place that is not a government entity and not nonprofit. We make money doing underserved medicine efficiently and use the profits to fund various social services for refugees and asylees. This is affirmative action capitalism. Most readers here may only know us by our restaurants which are a great place to visit us but only one part of what we do. Much of what we do is intentionally unpublicized.

What were you like growing up?
My immigrant childhood was challenged by instability in my homes and racism outside of them. My immigrant adulthood has been the same with plenty of privilege and luck also.

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