Thang Tung Pau arrived at O’Hare on July 5, 2011. In Burma, he worked on his family’s farm until he was targeted for forced labor and torture for not joining the military. Fortunately, he escaped the country and found temporary safety in a refugee camp in Malaysia. Pau, even in Burma, shared many of the ideals that we Americans hold so dear: self-reliance, courage, and determination to take advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. Restricted to the camp, he taught himself English in order to get a jump start should he be resettled in an English-speaking country.
By last November – just four short months after stepping off the plane – Pau was working as a janitor at a gym in the Gold Coast. He is also active in the Burmese community and volunteers to help translate for newly arriving Burmese refugees. He also began a 3-month/240-hour program at Progressive Truck Driving School. After completing the course, Pau will take the commercial drivers license test, and enroll in Progressive’s job placement service.
When asked why he wanted to drive a truck, Pau simply replied, “I like to drive”. He drove a dump truck for the jade mine so he is used to handling large vehicles. He added, “Since I arrived in the United States, in my mind, I’ve been thinking about my future. For me, the only way to earn more money is to be a truck driver. My English is not good and I don’t have [an American] education.”
He then remembered his wife and daughter, still in Burma. He wants to make more money so he will have a nice home when they arrive. Pau’s wife works the family farm and, although she has been questioned about his whereabouts, remains safe. He hopes they will join him by the end of the year.
Pau is living RefugeeOne’s mission to “create opportunities to build new lives of safety, dignity and self-reliance.” At the same time, he is also breathing new life into the American Dream.
Help Pau, and other refugees like him, reach their American Dream with your donation.
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