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Saw Eh Ku and Shellabell Naw


"My name is Ashlee Mooloko and I am 16 years old. I am the daughter of Saw Eh Ku and Shellabell Naw.


My mother and father decided to bring us to the United States from Thailand to find a better life for my sister, Cherry Baw—who is now at UC Berkeley; and my brother, Saw Eh Tataw who is at Chabot College; and for myself.


When we first came to the U.S. in 2004, life was difficult—U.S. customs and culture were so different than in Thailand and Burma. My family spoke very little English at the time. It was difficult for my parents to find a job because of the language issue. My parents both enrolled in an adult school in Newark to learn English—we were living in a two-bedroom apartment in Union City at the time. We didn’t have a car, so they took the bus to school in the early evening, and because the bus stopped service before they were done with class, my parents walked home every night—more than an hour of walking in the dark and over the 880 freeway to get home. I felt sad for them, but they were so strong.


My parents were introduced to a Burmese counselor at Lao Family by a friend of theirs. Lao Family has helped us in so many ways. In 2006, our family enrolled in the IDA Program to save money to buy a house. It took us about two years to save $4000 which was matched with another $4000 through the program. We also received free tax services from Lao Family which helped us to claim over $2500 a year in Earned Income Tax Credits and returns. We were able to save a lot of money which we used to buy our first home, a four-bedroom, 2½ bath house in Union City—much better than our two-bedroom apartment.


Right now, my mother is working two jobs in nursing homes. She works 16-hour days to help us make ends meet. My father recently lost his job when the company he had been with for four years closed down and is back at Lao Family which is helping him to find work. Lao Family has helped us so much in the past that he knows he can go back to them and that they will help him with whatever he needs.


When asked how my dad feels about Lao Family, he responds, “I only have love for Lao Family! They have helped me with everything—anything I need. I tell all my friends how very good and helpful they are.”


In one more year, we can become American citizens. We are very excited about it. As always, we know that Lao Family will help us to do what we have to do to finally become citizens. Our family is so thankful to Lao Family."