Refugee & Resettlement Services

Orlando, FL – Naw handed her husband, Lum, a tissue as he shared memories from the years he spent trying to escape the hunger, imprisonment and violence of a war-torn country.

Born in neighboring villages, this Burmese refugee couple suffered the same injustices to their basic human rights before coming to the United States in January, 2014. Welcomed by our Refugee & Resettlement Services, Naw and Lum have started a new life in Orlando with their two young children.

Their resettlement process began when they fled their villages to Malaysia. The couple met shortly after registering as refugees with the United Nations. Once registered, each application is reviewed for potential relocation to a place where they are most likely to be successful in resettlement.

“Here, I can ask for help,” said Naw as she smiled towards Nicole DeCarufel, her case manager.

“I’m so proud of this family,” commented DeCarufel. “The first year in America is usually the hardest because clients are adjusting to a completely new lifestyle and have to reconcile their cultural beliefs with ours, in addition to the stress of trying to learn a new language, a new place to get used to, and not having very much money to begin with.”

Naw and Lum have created a foundation for their family’s future. Their case manager has helped them find an apartment, a job, daycare and food assistance services for their children and even a car that was donated to the program. “Lum passed his driver’s license test on his first try,” DeCarufel said. “That is almost unheard of for non-fluent English speakers.”

The couple has picked up words and phrases from listening and watching others speak English. After English classes, Lum plans to become a mechanic. Naw plans to study to be a nurse, something she says is greatly needed in the Burmese Villages because they do not have doctors, clinics or hospitals.

Naw said she has God to thank for opening the hearts of her parents to send her to school and provide what they could for her.

“When we stay in the village, they send daughters to school only 3 or 4 years. Then they work in fields with family,” said Naw. “For me, I hope that my daughter, my son, not be like me. Not be like grandmother, grandfather.”

Through the support and compassion of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, the Church extends God’s love and charity to provide hope and opportunity to immigrants like Naw and Lum in our community.

Refugee Services
1771 N. Semoran Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32807
Phone: 407-658-0110