Theresa was born in Burma, one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. For most of the past 50 years, Burma was ruled by military dictatorship and embroiled in a bitter civil war. As part of an ethnic minority, Theresa’s people were persecuted – victims of countless human right violations and entirely rejected by their government.
In 2009, Theresa’s husband fled Burma and Theresa followed a year later. Her husband found work at a chicken factory and encouraged Theresa to pursue a career. She began taking English language classes and received leadership and life-skills training from Refugee Women’s Network (RWN). By 2013, Theresa was working at RWN as a community outreach worker.
Since then, Theresa earned a degree in accounting and now works at a local accounting firm, while still volunteering at RWN. This professional woman typifies the strength and resiliency in every refugee RWN serves.
Asmaa was born and raised in the bustling capital city of Baghdad, Iraq. Having earned a master’s degree in library and information science, Asmaa worked as a librarian and assistant professor at Baghdad University for 13 years.
In 2003, a US-led coalition invaded Baghdad and began bombing the city. The war that ensued would last eight years and cause unimaginable destruction in the city. In 2006, Asmaa’s family was forced to leave Iraq for the safety of Egypt, eventually relocating to the United States in 2011 as Iraqi refugees.
Once in the U.S., Asmaa discovered Refugee Women’s Network (RWN) and began working with RWN to establish herself in Atlanta. A graduate of RWN’s leadership and life skills program, Asmaa now serves as a community outreach worker for RWN, working with other refugee women to integrate into society and become active participants in their new community. Asmaa’s story exemplifies what can be overcome when women support other women.
Tila was born in the small South Asian country of Bhutan, nestled in the eastern Himalayas and bordered by India and China. One of eight children, Tila stood out as a gifted student. She had a hunger for learning, eventually earning a degree from the University of North Bengal and establishing a career in education.
In 1990, as part of an ethnic minority in Bhutan, Tila’s people faced rising levels of persecution at the hands of the Bhutanese government. Denied citizenship and human rights in her own country, Tila was forced to flee the violence and spend the next 21 years living in a Nepali refugee camp.
In 2012, Tila relocated to the United States as a Bhutanese refugee. With limited understanding of the language or the culture, Tila arrived on American soil, determined to rebuild her life. Tila became a client of Refugee Women’s Network (RWN) and then began working as one of RWN’s community outreach workers, helping other victims of war adjust to their new lives in the US.
A short three years later, Tila now teaches English as a second language to refugees and immigrants in the Atlanta area. Combining her passion for education and her connection to the cause, Tila is a shining example of what can be accomplished when women are given the resources they need to become leaders in their communities.