According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), refugees “are considered the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.” These individuals and families flee terror, violence, and intolerable conditions in search of safety and a better future, leaving their entire lives behind for good.
We assist such families once they are granted refuge in the USA and settle in our communities, doing everything we can to smooth their adjustment and attend to their needs during the challenging start of life in a new culture and land.
Some of the refugees we have helped are from Myanmar (formerly Burma), a Buddhist nation located in Southeast Asia. Our volunteers begin by welcoming the new families with the offering of ‘care baskets,’ and then it evolves. These are some of their stories.
LAY DEE BER
Lay Dee Ber endured years of abuse at the hands of her husband. She would allow herself to be assaulted in an attempt to protect their seven children, who suffered beatings as well. Although neighbors and local shopkeepers urged Lay Dee to seek help and find shelter, she resisted, until she finally mustered enough courage to leave her violent spouse.
As one of our long-term aid recipients, alongside a government caseworker, we monitor Lay Dee and her children’s welfare. Our volunteers visit on an ongoing basis, grateful they can offer aid and moral support to ease the trauma of the past and improve prospects for the future. Helping Lay Dee learn English is a top priority, so that she can get a job and become self-sufficient.
Hun Dung is a single mother of four, who suffered the death of her husband and father of their children before the family arrived in the United States. She was single-handedly supporting the family by working at a factory in Houston, however taking one of her sons to the doctor resulted in the termination of her employment.
Discovering this mother’s dire need for assistance, our volunteers began visiting Hun and her kids regularly, checking in to see how the family was doing, to assess what they needed, and to bring ample food and supplies. Soon, everyone bonded, experiencing the time spent together as if one family.
Kasin Sin stepped on a land-mine while in a refugee camp when he was young. Tragically, his right leg had to be amputated below the knee, but lacking proper medical equipment, the surgery was not ideal. Although he was fitted with a prosthesis, even 10 years later the wound can still become inflamed, and new problems have emerged.
Kasin has been our long-term aid recipient since 2008, and when our volunteers visit, Dr. Chen Tingzhou is one among them. Since he was born in the same region as Kasin, they speak the same language – one among the 130 distinct languages in Myanmar. This shared heritage makes a world of difference, and that’s the level of connection we always seek to offer, with all our hearts.