Naw Paw has faced many challenges over the last few years. Her father was killed by civil conflict in Myanmar, her mother passed away from heart disease. This was quickly followed by the collapse of her marriage and divorce. To keep her children safe, the family fled across the border to a refugee camp in Thailand.
To support her family, Naw Paw began selling snacks door to door within the camp to make a little money. With health problems of her own, she had to eventually give this up as well. She decided to join the vocational training program that ADRA was conducting for refugees in the camp. Looking over the program options, she chose to take classes in cooking skills.
In the ADRA training program, Naw Paw learned how to cook and bake delicious meals. ADRA also taught the class basic life and business skills. She learned how to deal with customers in a friendly and pleasant way. After her graduation, ADRA helped Naw Paw start her own business by providing her with her cooking utensils and helping her set up a restaurant in the camp.
Before COVID-19, the restaurant was doing very well. She was getting a lot of business from residents and humanitarian workers. Whenever there was a training being conducted in the camp, she would get a lot of orders, especially for Burmese cuisine. A lot of her business came from students of the various schools that have been set up in her semi-permanent refugee community. All of her hard work was paying off and she was making a good steady income to support her children.
The global pandemic has had a severe impact on lives and incomes, even in remote refugee camps! Naw Paw had to close her restaurant for several months. Once again she started facing financial challenges. Fortunately, she was able to re-open her restaurant a few weeks ago and business is slowly picking up. However, with the camp remaining on a heavy lockdown, humanitarian workers are not allowed to enter. With no training or events being conducted, her monthly income has fallen significantly. Still, Naw Paw is lucky. Given all of the restrictions of the lockdown, she is one of the few businesses that have been allowed to start up again.
Naw Paw is thankful for the life-changing help that she received from ADRA and looks forward to the day when she will be able to return to Myanmar and open up her own restaurant in her home town. It is her dream to one day have at least five employees!