Navigation Links
For refugees from Burma, hope of better life in US turns into extreme poverty, isolation
Date:11/28/2011

Refugees who have fled Burma to live in Oakland, Calif., are at risk of becoming a permanent, poverty-stricken underclass warns a new report released today by researchers at San Francisco State University and the Burma Refugee Family Network (BRFN). The report found that almost 60 percent of Oakland's refugees from Burma are living in extreme poverty.

Since 2007, thousands of refugees from war-torn Burma have been resettled by the U.S. federal government and an estimated 400 individuals have been resettled in Oakland.

Burma, also known as Myanmar, has been under military rule since 1962. Ethnic minorities make up 40 percent of the country's population and many refugees are from the Karen and Karenni ethnic groups, have been the targets of brutal military attacks and persecution by Burma's Army.

"These recent refugees from Burma are facing dire circumstances," said Russell Jeung, associate professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. "The recession and government cuts in adult English classes mean that even though they want to work, these refugees have no opportunity to learn English or workplace skills in order to adapt to life in the U.S."

Jeung and his students, together with BRFN and other community-based organizations, surveyed 194 refugees from Burma to assess the community's needs. The researchers found that in addition to high poverty rates, these refugees face barriers to accessing employment, health care and government benefits caused by their lack of English. These barriers have been exacerbated by recent cuts in the provision of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and a lack of appropriate interpretation services.

"Refugees from Burma are brought here to escape years of persecution and hardship, and are hoping for a better life in the U.S., but instead they are being neglected and caught in a web of poverty," said Zar Ni Maung of BRFN. "Here, we should have more human rights and opportunities, but we still struggle and must work together to overcome these challenges."

The report found that among Oakland's refugee population from Burma:

  • 63 percent are unemployed. Those that are employed have sporadic, low-wage jobs.
  • 57 percent live below the federal threshold for extreme poverty, earning less than $1,000 per month for an average household size of five. Most of the remainder live below the federal poverty line.
  • 38 percent speak no English at all. Another 28 percent speak English poorly.
  • 74 percent report that lack of English is their biggest barrier to accessing health care.
  • 47 percent report that English classes are the most-needed service in their community.

The outlook is particularly difficult for refugees from Burma's Karen and Karenni ethnic groups, which make up the majority of the refugees from Burma that have resettled in Oakland. These ethnic groups originate from some of the poorest and least developed states in Burma. They fled their home states in eastern Burma to escape military attacks and human rights abuses. Now resettled in Oakland, refugees of Karenni origin are struggling to adapt to life in the United States: 81 percent are unemployed, 90 percent are living in extreme poverty and 90 percent have no high school education.

"These ethnic groups are faring the worst," Jeung said. "They are the least educated, the least empowered and many of them only speak their own ethnic language, which means they can't understand Burmese translators and are locked out of accessing the services they need."

The report's recommendations include an extension of the federal Refugee Cash Assistance Program, which currently only provides support to refugees for eight months after their arrival in the U.S. It also calls for direct support for refugee community organizations helping their own communities and the funding and training of interpreters in ethnic languages and increased provision of adult ESL classes, particularly classes appropriate for learners with low levels of formal schooling.

"Our findings suggest that resettlement programs in Oakland are not yet successful," Maung said. "We would like to see federal and local refugee government agencies and nonprofits working together with and supporting grassroots community organizations in order to help members of our community achieve self-sufficiency."


'/>"/>

Contact: Elaine Bible
ebible@sfsu.edu
415-405-3606
San Francisco State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Autism-Related Hypersensitivity Better Understood
2. Developing guidelines for better reporting of health research
3. Hawaiian-shirt.net Offers 10 Tips To Beat The Winter Blues: Things You Can Do Right Now to Have a Better Day
4. Better care at any hour for palliative patients
5. Patients Do Better at Hospitals That Follow Stroke Guidelines
6. More Expensive Hospital Care May Not Mean Better
7. New MRI May Lead to Better Brain Pictures
8. Biological clock could be a key to better health, longer life
9. Why do physicians order costly CTs? Ultrasound yields better diagnosis, safer, less costly
10. BetterInvesting Magazine Releases May Stock to Study and Undervalued Stock Choices for Investors Informational and Educational Use
11. New approach to immune cell analysis seen as first step to better distinguish health and disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2017)... , ... April 28, 2017 , ... Getting enough sleep affects much more than energy ... going just 19 hours without sleep can compromise motor reaction time, which can increase the ... Amica Insurance is sharing the following tips from the NSF to help you sleep better ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... Fairfax, VA (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2017 , ... ... elected volunteer board members and officers for 2017-2018. The annual board election process has ... serving on a volunteer basis. , Thomas C. Dickerson, Ed.D., FACHE, succeeds Jim Hamilton, ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... From April ... of Urgent Care Medicine will host industry leaders for the annual spring Convention ... those in the industry adapt to the issues currently affecting urgent care and ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... ... Overseer at The House of Yahweh in Abilene, Texas, has published a new post that ... Yisrayl says with so many titles and names for the Creator, it’s hard for many ... Scripture, backed with a lot of research, the truth is undeniable. , “If you ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... York, New York (PRWEB) , ... April 28, ... ... high-quality anti-aging skincare and advanced nutraceutical supplements, through its Nova Skin ... cream provides the hydrating benefits of a moisturizer with the power of an ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/18/2017)... , April 18, 2017  Cardinal Health (NYSE: ... 1 fiscal 2017 earnings per share (EPS) guidance ... 2019.  This is in conjunction with this morning,s announcement ... Vein Thrombosis and Nutritional Insufficiency businesses. Cardinal ... continuing operations will be at the bottom of its ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... April 18, 2017 Viverae ® , a ... the integration of IBM ® Watson Campaign Automation, ... targeted communications for a personalized experience. Through digital engagement, ... their health in real time. The enhanced experience drives ... to members, wherever they are in their journey to ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... DIEGO , April 18, 2017  Astute Medical, ... a case series to be presented at the 2017 ... which begins today and continues through April 22. Physicians ... IGFBP-7 , used to assess risk for acute kidney ... decompensated heart failure (ADHF). Elevated levels ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: