Poe Wah | KUED.org


My Refugee Story
Myanmar (Burma), South East Asia

"I was born in Burma and fled to Thailand back in 1985 due to persecution, torture and evacuation by the Burmese soldiers. My village was burned down and villagers were shot or forced to be their porters. Therefore, I had to flee and seek for refuge on the Thailand border line.

I was a refugee in Thai refugee camp and have no citizenship and no freedom because the camp was fenced with the iron blade steel rope and no refugee is allowed to get out of the camp by the Thai authority. We had limited food ration and water in the camp. No further education after 12 grades and no income to support the family except those who are hired at the NGOs agencies. For all that reasons, I decided to apply for resettlement to United States.

My experience here in Salt Lake City when I first arrived was pretty much common with other refugees. I had problem with the local food, public transportation system, snow and more. Language is the hardest part.

I came to Salt Lake City, Utah, straight from Thailand and go nowhere until presently. In term of success, myself, I am physically incapacitated but now receiving social security benefit and my wife has a job bringing home income. My wife and myself are now gaining the language that we are able to communicate with people and my kids are doing perfect with the language. I also have my own car now and able to assist other new arrival refugees.

I want to see myself gain more language skill that I am able to read and write well. I also wants to see my kids graduate from school. My all-time dream is own a house and I am sure that will happen soon. "

- Poe Wah

Political Landscape
Myanmar (Burma) Civil War and Conflict

Often referred to as the longest running civil war, the Burmese refugee crisis has a dense history. Through decades of fighting between the Burmese government and the Karen National Union army, thousands of Karen villagers have been displaced and forced to flee their homes. The Burmese army has been criticized for systematic human rights violations against the Karen minority population, including rape, torture, and forced labor. Many Karen people fled to nearby Thailand to find safe haven in “temporary shelters” or refugee camps.

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