News & Views

Recapturing a Future

Jinsi was fourteen when they came. The military stormed her small village and forced her father to work for them. And then he was gone. Dead. When the military insisted her mother take his place, her mother decided that there was only one thing to do: flee.

So Jinsi, her two younger sisters, and her mother, fled their small town in a Burmese mountain valley and made the difficult journey to Malaysia. But once in Malaysia, Jinsi had to grow up fast. She could no longer go to school and spend time with the books she loved. She had to provide for her family by working in a restaurant six days a week.

Jinsi lived in fear for years. While Malaysia was safer than Burma, it wasn’t actually safe. Would the Malaysian police try to return her back to Burma where she would live in fear of the military? Would the police simply shake her down for money? Would the next day tear her family apart yet again?

Then she learned that the United Nations had found her family a new home. They would be going to the United States.

In the United States, Jinsi could be a kid again. She didn’t have to fear for her life. She worried about what other teenagers worried about—homework and getting good grades. She didn’t have to worry about corrupt police or violent militia.

That was seven years ago. Now Jinsi has graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing a career in the Medical Sciences. Now Jinsi has a future.