The following is the touching profile of a brave woman who becomes the latest person to receive a home through the rigorous Austin Habitat for Humanity program. Moonshine Sweet Tea team members were among the volunteers to help build the house. We are excited to share this story as we wish all our friends and customers a Happy Thanksgiving!
Naw Shwe Shwe Win fled her native home of Burma to Malaysia, where she lived for seven years before moving to the United States as a Burmese refugee. Burma is a country in Southeast Asia that has been experiencing a long-running civil war with a military government and many different ethnic groups. In Burma, distinct clothing is one way to distinguish an ethnic group, and Naw Shwe Shwe Win describes all the different colors of clothing she finds in Austin as one of her favorite things about the city. She recounts, “I like Austin – I like seeing different people dressing in all colors and however they want.”
Since Naw Shwe Shwe Win came to Austin in May 2009, she’s had to move four times. While she enjoys her North Lamar apartment, all of her bills go towards housing costs and she does not have any income left to go towards saving. This worries Naw Shwe Shwe Win every day since she does not have family here in Austin. Without this security and support system to fall back on in times of need, Naw Shwe Shwe Win is keen on securing a home for herself.
Having her own home means that Naw Shwe Shwe Win can plant a garden and grow her own food like she did in Burma. She is excited to have a vibrant, beautiful, and quiet home. Her future goal is to improve her English and save enough money to open her own beauty shop. In addition to saving, Naw Shwe Shwe Win thinks that owning a home will change her life simply because she will be happier.
Even though Naw Shwe Shwe Win lives in Austin by herself, she is very family-oriented. While working at Flextronics Global Operations in Specialty & Quality Control for the past four years, she has developed close friendships that she equates to family.
She also relays her desire to help other refugees who are in need of temporary housing. She has received so much support from fellow refugees in Austin that she wants to return the favor someday. Now through owning her own home, she will be able to make this dream come true.
Naw Shwe Shwe Win would like to thank all the sponsors and volunteers who are making her dream a reality. She says, “Thank you so much to anyone who gives their time.” She knows how difficult it is to work and volunteer at the same time, and she hopes to continue helping other Habitat families once she is through the program.
Thank you for giving Naw Shwe Shwe Win the foundation for self-reliance and stability!
Written by Austin Habitat for Humanity