Refugee (noun) – A person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, as in time of suffering from race, religion, nationality, political upheaval, war, etc.
During and after the Vietnam war, the United States resettled about 2.6 million refugees, also known as “boat people” from Vietnam, Thailand Cambodia and Laos. Imagine as of right now, you pack and board a plane to get dropped off onto another country with limited assistance from the new government. Leaving all you have behind to start a new life. You don’t have any knowledge of the native language, and you still have to take care of your kids who came along. Does it sound exciting?
Mey Chow Saechao, a refugee from Thailand describes her resettlement, “I came here at the age of 19 with my husband. I had a 2 year old son and a 9 month daughter. When we arrived, I remember feeling like a beast. The eyes that stared at us like we were aliens really scared me. We had one plan. Just move in with the family and carry on.”
Refugees include Jews who escaped the Holocaust, Haitians from poverty, and Iraqis from the most recent war. The list goes on and on. Each and every one of them seeking refuge to a better and safer life. The Office of Immigration reports that in 2011, about 60,000 refugees were admitted to the United States.
“While every refugee’s story is different and their anguish personal, they all share a common thread of uncommon courage. The courage not only to survive, but to persevere and rebuild their shattered lives.” says U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonia Guterres.