Seven years ago, Seng and Brang came to the United States as refugees from Myanmar. Brang found a minimum-wage job in manufacturing while Seng stayed home with their children. But despite their hard work, they were nearing financial collapse. Rent consumed 70% of their income and an auto loan and credit card payments had this young family careening towards a financial cliff.
At first Seng tried to find a job outside the home, but it was difficult with a baby. The final straw was when she suffered a car accident and was blamed for it because of her low level of English.
At ReWA they met Zau, a case manager who speaks their native dialect and helped them create a plan to get back on track. “First, I found them a lawyer for the car accident case. Then, I helped them apply for a Habitat for Humanity home, while they attended financial literacy classes. They learned budgeting and strategies to avoid predatory lenders.”
Within 12 months, Seng and Brang had a new home in Federal Way with an affordable mortgage. Zau also coached Brang to negotiate a pay raise at work and connected Seng with a training program to help her launch a new sushi franchise business. And lastly, the lawyer called: Seng won the auto accident case and would be compensated for her injuries and damage to her car.
Thanks to the support of individual donors like you, ReWA’s multi-lingual staff in SeaTac, Kent and South Seattle help immigrants and refugees from Asia, Central America, Africa, and the Middle East to integrate into a new culture and economy. Our clients come to learn English, receive employment and housing assistance, behavioral health counseling, after-school youth programs, early childhood education, and more. Our emphasis on helping clients get the education and training they need to advance in new careers mean they have the tools to grow and support their families long term.