After living for seven years in Malaysia and a refugee camp in Thailand, I resettled in the United States on my 26th birthday. I don’t have to live a fearful life anymore. I’m so very grateful that the resettlement agency in Buffalo helped me find jobs, furnish my first apartment to become self-sufficient, master the public transportation system and find a doctor. Now I can regain my hope and rebuild my life. Refugees differ from other immigrants in that they don’t have the choice to remain in their home country. Refugees flee their country to save their lives from war or persecution. I am thankful because each year Americans welcome refugees from Burma, Nepal, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia and other parts of the world. All of the refugees from different places come to the United States with different experiences. Some refugees had to leave their beloved family behind, fleeing their home with few possessions and little hope. However, only less than 1 percent of refugees get the chance for resettlement. It may be hard to believe for Americans that many of my friends will spend their life in these refugee camps, unable to return home or go out of the camp. Resettlement is not a guarantee for the refugees, but the only hope for their future is to be resettled into another country. Although some of my friends have the chance, they refuse to be resettled to another country due to their family and kids. Perhaps they would be very happy to resettle in the United States if they knew how agencies are helping people like me to lead more hopeful lives.
Sai Sao Kham