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Recalling her life in Burma, Sui spoke matter of factly, “Life was very hard in Burma. We never had candy or tea or coffee. Our only shoes were flip flops. When they broke we had to sew them together.” Sui’s parents were farmers. When harvests were poor they didn’t have money to buy rice or new shoes. The military made life even harder. Year after year, month after month, soldiers surrounded their village, stealing their eggs and livestock, even beating villagers.
Convinced that she could earn money to send home, Sui endured a harrowing three-week journey by foot, bus, and boat, before finally reached Malaysia. For three years Sui was forced her to hide in the forest or pay bribes demanded by the police. At last she was able to apply for asylum in the US and was resettled in St. Louis.
In 2019, we met Sui through a Community Sewing Class. We spotted her potential and invited her on as an artisan with the Sewing Team. Six months later Sui was promoted to the role of Sewing Administrator where she is learning English and computer skills, while also preparing kits and co-teaching artisan sewing classes. Sui loves to sew and is eager to learn new skills and projects, so it’s a perfect fit!