Kushe Saw spent much of her childhood in the jungles of Burma, hiding from Burmese soldiers in the area. Even during school, she and her teachers would hide in the foliage. In comparison, the U.S. was a haven of safety and opportunity.
Born in 1971, Mrs. Saw grew up during an era of civil war and military dictatorship. When she was only four years old, Kushe’s parents left her under her grandfather’s care. A pastor and avid gardener, Kushe’s grandfather had a profound impact on her life. One Sunday, Burmese soldiers attempted to overtake her grandfather’s church but failed. The soldiers returned that evening to torch the village. Since then, Kushe was constantly on the move.
After her parents died, Kushe was adopted by a Karen couple. Her adoptive father heard of a UN program in Thailand that was evacuating refugees from Burma; they decided to apply. The application process was no easy task. Kushe’s adoptive family was applying for ten people without any kind of legal identification. Fortunately, their application to move to the U.S. was approved, and Mrs. Saw came to Louisiana in 1999.
Since then, Mrs. Saw received her nursing assistant certification from the International Institute of Minnesota, an organization that helps transitioning immigrants. She works at St. Anthony Park Home and hopes to one day become a registered nurse. Kushe lives in St. Paul with her husband and their three children.