Everyone has a story – that’s true – but few are as remarkable as Steah Htoo’s, a Burmese refugee who has not only found her place in the United States, but is committed to help others make the transition, too.
Separated from her family when she was just 14 years old, Steah lived in a refugee camp for 16 years before coming to the United States. Equipped with basic knowledge about electricity, indoor plumbing, and other things she would encounter in her new country, she bravely made the journey to the United States.
In addition to a full time job, being a wife and mother to three children, and maintaining a home, Steah has become a resource in her community for other refugees trying to assimilate into American culture. In the U.S. only six years herself, she has become the “go to” person for these families, volunteering her time to help them with seemingly simple tasks like reading mail or making appointments, or more difficult ones like understanding and completing complex paperwork or attending parent/ teacher conferences as a translator to help make the transition easier for families. She often accompanies other refugees to doctors’ appointments and jokes she can’t count the number of babies she’s watched being born.
Htoo credits her friend Debbie Taylor, a volunteer for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, with helping her establish herself in this country – and for answering questions and helping Steah and other refugees navigate and understand the American system.