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:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... , media relations, content marketing, social media management, corporate communications, SEO and cause ... the state and in nearby New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Canada, Rosica will focus ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Colorado (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... Magazine, an exciting, new, interactive publication where generations converge and explore the world ... expand their worldview, Dialog Magazine enables readers to gain understanding, increase empathy, and ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... new partnership with the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART) ... for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to see films in an environment ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Curemark, LLC announced today that the Blüm Study, a Phase ... 3-8 with Autism, is now enrolling at three new sites. These new sites are ... , “There are currently no approved drugs that address the core symptoms of ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... York (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... entrance and lobby of a new healthcare contact center in Georgia, PENETRON Specialty ... One of the nation’s largest healthcare systems recently invested $51 million to purchase ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017  Cogentix Medical, Inc. ... and markets innovative proprietary products for the urology market, ... fiscal year ended December 31, 2016 before the market ... The Company will host a conference call and webcast ... Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Feb 23, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... 2016" report to their offering. ... The latest research Menopause Drugs Price Analysis and Strategies - ... The research answers the following questions: ... How are they positioned in the Global Menopause market? ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 23, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... - 2016" report to their offering. ... The latest research Fibromyalgia Drugs Price ... in the global Fibromyalgia market. The research answers the ... marketed for Fibromyalgia and their clinical attributes? How are they positioned ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: