1. Introduce yourself! What is your role at LSI and how long have you been a member of the team?
My name is Ka Hsa and I have been with LSI for almost nine years as a Bilingual Community Associate and Social Worker.
2. What keeps you passionate about the work you do at LSI?
I’m very happy to work with LSI because my supervisor and coworkers are very helpful and understanding. I’m spending my time helping people with something important, and that motivates me to do great work. It is challenging, but transforming.
3. Can you tell us about your journey to building a home in Iowa?
I was born in a Thailand village and after 10 years, because of war, my family had to move to a refugee camp in Thailand. In the refugee camp, it was very hard because there is no opportunity. When the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced we could resettle in another country, my sister, my brothers, and I came to the U.S. in 2007.
4. How did you feel when you first arrived in the U.S.?
I felt great when I arrived in the U.S., because we were greeted and welcomed at the Des Moines airport by a caseworker from a resettlement agency. We received immediate assistance, so I felt welcome here.
5. What is your favorite thing about living in Iowa now?
The nature in Iowa is my favorite. It’s a nice place, and I like the weather. And Iowa is not too expensive like other places, the schools are good, and job opportunities are good. I like everything.
6. What do you want others to know about our refugee and immigrant community in Iowa?
Our community likes to do things to benefit the whole community. People do not just think about helping only themselves. Refugees have endured years of hardship and need help adjusting to the new language and culture. If we could all work together, it could make a difference and make our world a better place.
7. What can we do to show our support for our refugee and immigrant community as we celebrate World Refugee Day this year?
Refugees need your help more than ever. We can show our support by welcoming them as new and valuable members of American society. You can help refugees by volunteering and becoming English tutors, or mentoring a family, or donating money to provide literature and household items, and teaching other people about refugees.