Our first family is from Burma and during our visit the mother and 14-year-old son were home. The family has two younger sons who are still in Burma with their grandparents. The mother, father, and son who now live in Phoenix were forced to flee their home in Burma when the Burmese military attacked their farm. From there, the family moved to Thailand, where they lived for six months. In Thailand they completed odd jobs in order to eat, but were not able to earn any money. From Thailand they crossed to Malaysia, where they lived for four years. Both the mother and father were able to work in restaurants. Their bosses provided them housing, but they were not able to live together. On August 4th the family arrived in Phoenix. Their son is currently attending school and is in 9th grade. The father does not have a job, but is taking classes. The family is very appreciative of the feeling of safety that comes with living in Phoenix and also that once again they can live together as a family.
The second family is also from Burma. The family has four children ages 10, 8, 5, and 1. The husband was not at home, but the mother and children were there to meet us. The older children have made friends with some of their neighbors and they were all playing together. In Burma, the family lived on a farm, but they were forced to flee when the military attacked. The mother and father were made to work as porters for the Burmese military. The family fled to the east of Burma and then to Thailand where they lived in a refugee camp near Bangkok. They stayed in the refugee camp for eight years and arrived in Phoenix on August 10th. This family is also appreciative of the safety and freedom they have found in America.
The last family is from Iraq. We met the mother, who stays at home with her two children, ages 3 and 1. Her husband worked as a security guard for Fox News in Iraq and due to his work the family was threatened. They moved directly from Baghdad to Phoenix. The mother also did not work in Iraq and referred to her life there as normal. Her husband does not yet have a job here. At the time of our visit he was attending a class at the IRC. They have no family in the United States, however, her brother is now receiving threats because his sister’s family has now moved to America. He has applied to come to America as well. Her cousin also receives threats related to his work as a police officer.