Mi Mama’s heart fell as she read the military summons. She knew her infirm, elderly father might not survive the forced labor. Bravely, she volunteered to take his place. Yet after days of backbreaking work and sexual harassment, Mi Mama feared for her safety. Fleeing to Malaysia, Mi Mama finally escaped the emotional and physical trauma. Here she attempted to build a new life, marrying a loving husband and starting a family. But one day her husband didn’t come home from work, and Mi Mama discovered that soldiers had arrested him for improper documentation. Suddenly, she found herself alone with no legal protection, no income, and a four month old. As she desperately searched for someone to help her, she heard of an organization searching for someone to help them as they built a refugee women’s center. As a project coordinator for Strength for Refugees, Mi Mama found hope, community, financial stability, and meaningful employment helping other Burmese women just like her. Then, when her husband returned from prison, Mi Mama finally began to dream again. Determined to make her dreams a reality, Strength for Refugees helped her apply for immigration to America, where Mi Mama will pursue a permanent home for her family, an education, and the safety of citizenship.
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