Born in Falam, Myanmar |
Dawt never had plans of moving to Canada believing that her life in Burma (Myanmar) was quite good. This changed when her husband travelled to Canada to attend a meeting on how best to improve the lives of the Burmese people. Upon his arrival, the airport immigration officers noted that, on his papers, it said the purpose of his visit was to help Burmese dissidents. As the Burmese government views this kind of association as a form of dissent, he was subsequently unable to return to Burma for fear that he and his family would be punished. Luckily, here in Canada they were granted asylum. During her first five years in Canada, Dawt says she didn’t try to integrate into society. She observed a lot of homelessness and worried that Torontonians were unfriendly and not like the people back in Burma. She felt isolated, struggled to adjust to her new life and did not see the perfect city that she had imagined. One day Dawt decided that if she really missed the friendly people from back home, she needed to show those here how to be that way. She started volunteering at various places and became involved in the local community. As a result of doing this she has made many friends and has learned that Torontonians are actually very nice – she just needed to give them a chance. Dawt now feels very much part of the city. Aside from attending school to improve her English; she is currently volunteering frequently at church and at her daughter’s school.
Toronto as Home
Dawt volunteers in the cafeteria of Fern Avenue Public School where her daughter is a student. She tends the gardens, cleans, prepares meals, and helps the children. The school is an important place for Dawt as it is where she first got involved in the community and where she began to feel welcome in Canada
Connection with the Past
Whenever Dawt walks in Toronto’s parks and is surrounded by large trees, she reflects on her past. She says Chin State, where she is from, has many big evergreens covering the mountainside that would be used to build houses and fuel fires. For Christmas they would go into the forest searching for the perfect tree, then chop it down using axes with handles made of evergreen wood. For this reason, Dawt wanted to hold tree branches.