NewsLink Summer 2016 - Page 3

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hard for kids to go to school and there was always the fear of the Burmese soldiers coming back and destroying things,” Tin Tin said through an interpreter.

For eight years, Tin Tin lived in a refugee camp in Thailand and had no contact with her family. In 2012, she received the opportunity to come to the U.S. She now lives in Des Moines with her husband, a fellow refugee, and their son, Jason.

Life in the U.S. is both amazing and challenging. One of the best surprises is the support she has received from Nurse-Family Partnership.

The fifth of nine children, Tin Tin remembers her mother giving birth in their primitive home in Burma.

“There was no hospital. A woman came to the house. I heard my mom scream very loudly and it scared me.”

After a new baby arrived, Tin Tin’s mother had to manage on her own.

While infant mortality rates are very high in countries where war and genocide spur people to flee, all of Tin Tin’s siblings survived and she enjoyed an emotional reunion with her family last year in Thailand. But fear of childbirth can be common among refugees. That makes education from nurses all the more essential since they can reassure nervous moms about pregnancy and new babies.

“We were very poor. No one came to the house. I am very glad I have all these services available to me.”

Tin Tin is one of a growing number of refugees across the U.S. who are receiving long-term support from Nurse-Family Partnership. Many, like Tin Tin, are Karen: a persecuted ethnic group, thousands of whom have fled to the U.S. in recent years.

The flood of Karen refugees began in about 2008. In recent years, more Karen refugees have resettled in the U.S. than refugees from any other country.

Tin Tin bonded quickly with her nurse, Amanda Devereaux of Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa. (Continues on page 4)

Tin Tin Aye

Amanda Devereaux

Photography by Conrad Schmidt/CSP Visuals.