Organization: Society of Burma
History: The newest Southeast Asian Immigrants are from Burma. The Karens, Chin, Kachin, Mon and Burmese are discovering new hopes and dreams for better lives. These are not only for themselves, but for their children and future generations.
In the past five years, refugees from the Burma/Thailand border have come to settle in the Des Moines area. The history and current state of Burma (Myanmar) is traumatic to say the least and the civil and political unrest brews and erupts as the military junta continues to bully and oppress the people they are meant to serve and protect. These same people that are comprised of students, religious leaders, doctors, opposing political activists, mothers, and fathers have fled their homes and villages only to eke out meager lives in the refugee camps.
Now, in the U.S. many of the refugees work in factory jobs, raise families, go to school and do their best in making their way. They heavily depend on each other since the English language is often an issue. The more educated individuals who were taught English in school conduct most of the translations at medical appointments, school conferences, and job interviews.
If one could measure success, it is not by a secure financial portfolio, beautiful home, fame or popularity–but by the survival of atrocities against the basic human right to live without the fear of death. If that is fulfilled, then this newest community of immigrants are successful indeed.
Community Leader: Ian Loo