A fundraiser on March 23 will help bring two young women from Burma to Nelson.

Fashion show will help sponsor Burmese refugees

The Nelson Refugee Committee is hosting a spring active-wear fashion show on March 23 at Finley’s.

Plan on joining others at a special fundraiser at Finley’s on Friday, March 23 at 8 p.m. The Nelson Refugee Committee is hosting a spring active-wear fashion show from select stores in Nelson.

This special night is in support of two young women from Burma resettling in Nelson. Hsa Moo and Htoo Paw have spent most of their lives behind barbed wire in a refugee camp. It’s time to Bring Them Home!

The Nelson Refugee Committee has successfully worked with the East Kootenay Friends of Burma to remove the final barriers for the immigration of Hsa Moo and Htoo Paw. Coming to Nelson will be a daunting transition for them. Nevertheless, because of who they are, the Committee is confident that they will live productive, successful lives and contribute in many ways to the community.

Htoo Paw, in her late 20s, was born in Burma. Her village was burned in 2000. She has been living in a refugee camp ever since. Htoo Paw has a good level of education, having completed high school and a special personal development course which taught English, computer literacy, as well as life skills.

Her work experience includes teaching, childcare, care for the elderly and individuals with special needs.

Hsa Moo is a leader among her people. She is vice-president and programmer for the Karen Student Networking Group, is the producer of Radio Free Asia in Mae La Oo Refugee Camp and is working as a social worker in her camp village.

With incredible perseverance, Hsa Moo has completed high school, a leadership and management course and has recently received a diploma from the Australia Catholic University. Hsa Moo was born and raised in the camp more than 25 years ago.

The Karen people (pronounced kah-ren), are indigenous to Burma and are one of the many ethnic groups persecuted there.

On-going internal skirmishes, military repression of ethnic minorities, forced relocations based on economic strategy, and pervasive poverty have resulted in a constant exodus of political and economic refugees. Hsa Moo and Htoo Paw, who are cousins, are members of the Karen tribe.

The Nelson Refugee Committee has committed to sponsoring these two special young women for one year, or until such time as they become independent. This means the Committee will meet all their basic needs, help them assimilate into the community, assist them in furthering their education and help them find employment. Successful fund raising for all of this has been ongoing for two years, but a further $15,000 must be raised before the young women arrive.

Bring them Home! is the latest fundraising event organized by the Nelson Refugee Committee. Special thanks go out to Esprit de la Femme, Gericks, Ripping Giraffe, ROAM, Valhalla Pure, Sacred Ride, Streetclothes, and Village Ski Hut for their participation and to Ed Natyshak for acting as the evening’s host.

Tickets for Bring Them Home! are $10 at Otter’s or $15 at the door.

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