World Refugee Day Bio: That Wah

In honor of World Refugee Day on Saturday, June 23rd, The American Red Cross along with Bethany Christian Services will be posting stories of refugees in the West Michigan Area. Join us at our World Refugee Day Festival on Saturday, June 23rd! For more information see below or visit

That Wah was born in 1958 in the mountainous Karen State in Burma. Growing up, That Wah and her three siblings worked on a rice patty farm in the village. One day her family went to reap the harvest and found their field and village set aflame by the Burmese military. They fled to the jungle. For over three years, That Wah and her family moved nomadically as the Burmese military continued to destroy their small make-shift villages and crops. In 2001, as it was unsafe to venture into the city to get medicine, That Wah’s husband died from malaria. In 2002, she and her children moved to a refugee camp in Thailand.

That Wah began weaving when she was 13 years old as it was customary for all the women to learn to work with thread. She continued weaving at the refugee camp where she and her children remained for eight years. Although life inside the camp was safe, there were no jobs. To go outside the camp to look for jobs was a risk to one’s life.

That Wah and all of her children came to Grand Rapids in 2010. She dreams of returning to her country and village one day. In the meantime, she enjoys her life here and spends her time weaving, going to English class and taking care of her children and new granddaughter

Opportunities to get involved:

World Refugee Day Film: “Rain in a Dry Land”

Wealthy Street Theater

Wednesday, June 20, 201


The film follows two Somali Bantu refugee families resettling in the United States. A panel discussion will follow.

Join the celebration to honor the refugees in the West Michigan area.

o    Saturday, June 23, 2012

o    10:00am until 2:30pm

First Place Parking Lot – 207 Fulton St. E, Grand Rapids, MI

For more information visit:


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s