Refugee Resiliency: A Single Father’s Perseverance

Mr. Tip Ta and his daughter came to the U.S. from Burma unable to speak English. With your support of Catholic Charities, case managers helped Mr. T obtain full-time employment, and his daughter is thriving in school.

Living in a refugee camp is hard. Living in a refugee camp as a single father with a disability makes it especially tough.

Mr. Tip Ta and his daughter lived in a refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border for many years, a place that didn’t provide the opportunity to have any formal education. Additionally, shortly before Mr. T entered the refugee camp, he lost both of his forearms and hands after an explosion.

However, this did not slow Mr. T down.

The father-daughter duo resettled in the Southwest Houston area when they arrived in the U.S. Mr. T immediately began working toward self-sufficiency. He attended ESL classes as much as possible and did small jobs in his community to help make ends meet; he built small tables, shelves, and small fences for his neighbors.

Needing more stable employment, Mr. T came to Catholic Charities. Thanks to generous supporters of our Refugee Resettlement program, the team of job developers and case managers helped him apply to jobs and go on several interviews. He was eventually hired at Walmart, where he has now been working full-time for over a year.

Mr. Tip Ta often builds small fences like this one for his neighbors.

Most recently, Mr. T and his daughter began the process of becoming citizens. The citizenship process is a lengthy one, but Mr. T continues to work hard to prepare for the test. He attends ESL classes regularly, listens to civics lessons on his phone, and his daughter quizzes him with flash cards. He says he’s nervous, but knowing Mr. T – he is going to pass with flying colors.

If you ever visit Mr. T at his home, he will not talk to you about his challenges or hardships. He will show you something he recently built or offer you some of his home-cooked food. He shows us, day in and day out, how resilient, creative, and hardworking refugees are and just how much they can contribute to our community.

Learn more about Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement program and how you can help others like Mr. T.