Article by: Vedad Ghavanini

BiBi has a big smile on her face. She is writing her name for me, one of two words she is now able to write. “ I don’t know how to write. I have never attended school in Burma. Only when I arrived here I learned how to write”, she says. BiBi is a Burmese woman who lived at Baklo refugee camp in Thailand. She describes life at camp as very difficult with too many problems only one of its hardships is finding a job. Now she is hopeful. She is studying English and counting on IIA to help her find a job.
BiBi and her youngest daughter came to the United States over 4 months ago. Because she is not educated, her immigration paperwork was prepared by others and she doesn’t know the name of the organization that helped her immigrate. She also didn’t know anything about the IIA until she arrived and saw representatives waiting for her at the airport. She happily remembers that they picked her up and took her to her doctor’s appointment and then out to get something to eat. For now BiBi has to stay with her other daughter who is already living in Akron with her two children. BiBi’s third daughter is scheduled to arrive and once she is here the three of them will have their own apartment.
BiBi is very happy with her new life and proud of her improvements. As she is learning the English language she is getting more and more excited to be able to work and provide for herself. “IIA gives me too many help”, she says and when I ask her if there is anything she would like to tell her family and friends who are still at the camp, she says “ I want to tell them to come here because International Institute is helping us.” She is hopeful for the future and very grateful for her new life and the opportunities it presents.