In this story, we go to San Diego — where about 18 hundred refugees from Burma live – many of whom are ethnic minorities from Karen villages. The Karen and other groups have fought for autonomy from the Burmese government for 65 years.
Here in the United States it’s another battle – mental health professionals say language barriers compound feelings of depression and anxiety in refugees, especially Asian women.
Their family structures are challenged as parents turn to their English-speaking kids to navigate life here. But a San Diego program is pulling Karen women out of isolation, by enlisting them as weaving instructors.
The weaving program is also developing a line of surfboard bags and American-style clothing using their traditional weaving techniques to help instructors supplement their incomes.