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Chin Refugee Ministry Newsletter from Lewisville, Texas.
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16 Chin Students Graduate from High School

Newsletter: June-July 2013

Chin Graduating StudentsPlease join with us in celebrating these 16 Chin students who have finished all the course work for Lewisville High School, in English! There are no words to describe their accomplishment. 

The majority of the graduating students arrived in the United States in 2008 or later and were unable to read and write in English. Each student was required to start in 9th grade, no matter their age, since they had no “credits” to transfer from Burma. 

The Chin community, in general, still does not completely understand the importance to the American job market of a high school diploma. There is no mandatory education in Burma and those villages that can afford a high school only go through the 10th grade. The community pressure is higher to drop out than to finish because their families need their children to work to help support the family. 

This is not only a salute to the students themselves, but to the parents who did not force them to drop out, even with valid economic reasons to do so.

Congratulations to the LHS Chin class of 2013 and to your families -and thank you to all the Americans who helped them along the way!


Pink-Eye Epidemic


Pink Eye FlyerThe Chin population of Lewisville and Sherman have just gone through a 2-month long pink eye epidemic. Besides the fact that pink-eye makes the entire family uncomfortable and can potentially harm a baby’s eyesight, it costs the Chin student weeks of missed school days which they cannot afford to lose. 

To make matters worse, this year's strain was particularly difficult to treat and several of the Chin had to go through two rounds of medication before it finally cleared up. Most frightening - it truly exposed the vulnerability of the Chin population and their lack of medical understanding, in addition to the lack of a medical home for Chin adults who cannot get Medicaid in Texas and can’t afford insurance.
 
As with any epidemic, there are heroes. First, the school nurses of Lewisville ISD who were on the front line - diagnosing, trying to enforce the school policies regarding contagious diseases, and trying to communicate to parents who are not home or do not answer the phone.

Second, Julie Redus, Community in Schools campus social worker at Lakeland Elementary, whose school was hit the hardest. Julie created a valuable flyer for us to translate that explained the basics of pink-eye and how to keep it from spreading. The flyer was distributed to the doctor’s offices treating the families, to the school nurses, and to Chin parents. She also handed out laundry detergent and Germ-X and tried to get the kids to the doctor.  Julie, you were awesome.  

Third, our translators, Benny and Emma, who logged so many hours acquiring medical help for the kids and the adults, explaining to the parents how to keep the infection from spreading, and picking up kids from school. 

Last, but not least, Dr. Shane Taylor, a member of The Village Church Flower Mound, who made house calls for us so we could get some of the hardest hit kids back in school. 

Thanks to all of you.  

Chin Culture Corner

This July 4th - 6th, the Chin Youth from the Lewisville/DFW Metroplex caravanned to Indianapolis, Indiana for the 7th Chin Youth Organization of North America Conference, where Chin youth from different states competed in various competitions. 

The Dallas/Ft. Worth teams, which included Lewisville students, won first place in women’s volleyball, women’s ping-pong, women’s tug of war, men’s soccer, the vocal competition, the art contest, soccer, volleyball (both men's and women's), tennis, golf and ping-pong. 

Zing Par Sui, from Lewisville High School attended for the first time this year and competed in the debate competition. She said it was like a big reunion – to see Chin youth from all over the States come together and enjoy being Chin together.

CYO was founded in December 2000 with the aim of preserving the social, national, and culture heritages of the Chin, as well as, promoting and protecting the Chin literature and traditional values. In 2009, over 1000 Chin youth attended the conference, which is held every other year.
 


Becky NelsonA Note from Our Director

I have been struggling today as to whether or not to include the description of the Christian Youth Organization, or CYO, event in Indianapolis. It is a big event to the Chin students and I wanted to include it, however, it was marred by an incident involving alcohol. This incident ended in one Chin youth assaulting a police officer and two others jailed for alcohol use by a minor. Consequently, CYO is now conroversial within the Chin community and I don't want to create additional bad feelings.

Although CYO does not say it has a religious purpose, the Chin consider themselves believers in Jesus Christ. Such behavior is not only illegal, but it breaks their Christian lifestyle code.

My heart breaks and I pray so much for the Chin. I grew up in Oklahoma and witnessed the native Indian tribes destroy their lives with alcohol and drug use. I am so afraid the same thing will happen with the Chin. I watch the youth pick up the language and the bad habits of our American culture, and I grieve.  

Please pray for the Chin community as they struggle with how to live out their faith and their Chin-ness in this secular American culture.  

B.
Becky Nelson
Director, Chin Refugee Ministry
(972)  221-3249


 

July 6 - August 17 
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Saturdays. Citizenship classes continue at CRM offices. Saturdays
July 22
Summer Event for residents at BasswoodApartments, hosted by First Baptist Church Lewisville
July 26
Summer Event for residents at Oak Tree Apartments, hosted by First Baptist Lewisville
July 31 
5:30 p.m. Registration for new GED class starting at CCA.  Classes will start August 6 from 4:00 -6:00 p.m. Monday and Wednesdays
August 4
School Shoes for 100 kids, held at Payless Shoes and hosted by the Village Church Flower Mound
August 8
8:00 - 10:00 a.m.  Chin Refugee Ministry translators will help all Lillie Jackson Pre-K Chin students who need to provide the school with registration documentation.  
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.  Back to School School Supplies for all Chin students provided by Heavenly Supply Depot. Event held at Lakeland Elementary for all students.   If anyone would like to volunteer to help in this event, please contact kteamer@hsd.org
August 14 
Chin Refugee Ministry translators will assist in Lillie Jackson orientation for Chin parents
August 17 
Last day of Saturday citizenship classes at CRM
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