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Nor Pley Htoo



Nor Pley Htoo was born in 1999 in Ge Lo, Burma. She was born while her family was on the run from the Burmese government. In 2003 they moved to Mae Sruin Refugee camp in Thailand. In 2012 her family moved to Cleveland, Ohio and then again to Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2014.




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Hi, my name is Nor Pley Htoo. I was born in Myanmar 1999. I have five brothers and four sisters. I am the youngest child. Two When my mother gave birth to me it was in the jungle. I wasn't born in a safe place because of war, persecution and a government dictator. In the place where I was born there were mountains surrounding us. My journey started when I was baby. My family had to run out from our village to hide from the Burmese soldiers. It wasn’t always easy for us to find a safe place because there was a lot of Burmese soldiers in the surrounding area. When our parents found the place to hide, we started to build a house and a farm. We stayed there for a year and the Burmese soldiers found our place and burned down. This is the day I remember the most. My parents had to carry me on their back and ran away from the Burmese soldiers. I couldn't open my eyes to see what was going on. I could only hear people scream and cry. In 2003, my family moved to a karenni refugee camp in Thailand called “Mae Surin” because of the civil war in Burma. We built our house with bamboo and used the leaves to cover the roof. Mae Surin refugee camp was a good camp for people who needed shelter and a place to call home. They also provided education for young people. When we lived in Thailand refugee camp, me and my siblings had a chance to go to school. Even when we lived in Thailand refugee camp the education and the freedom was still not good for us. Also we didn't have enough food to eat and didn’t have the right to go out of the camp and find a job. We lived in Mae Surin refugee camp for 8 years.In 2012 my parents decided to come to the United States because we heard that in America, there is a lot of opportunity and better education. Before my pageants applied to immigrate to the United States. They had to do multiple interviews and tests. In march 19, 2012 we had to leave our camp and come to United States. When I left the camp, I was very sad and cry because I had to leave behind my friends and relatives. We took three airplanes. One from Thailand to Korea. The second from Korea to New York and the third from New York to Cleveland, Ohio. It took us two days to arrived in the U.S. In March 22, 2012 we arrived in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland was a wonderful city and had a very beautiful downtown. After a months pass by me and my siblings had to go to school. The school we had to go to was Thomas Jefferson High School. People could only attend Thomas Jefferson High School for two years and then they had to move to other schools. I started school at 8th grade in 2013 and each day it was so difficult for me because I didn’t know how to speak English and didn’t understand what people said. Most of the students were Spanish and black people . Some of them were mean and some of them were nice. All of my teachers were very gentle and good to me. They also encouraged me and treated me kindly. I lived in Cleveland, Ohio for two years and my family moved to Lakewood because in Cleveland, the housing bill was so expensive and there was a lot of shooting in the area where i lived. When I moved to Lakewood, Ohio I went to school called Lakewood High School. I was in 10 grade. Most of my classmates were white people. Each day when I went to school I feel so difficult because I am the only Asia in the class. I remember the time when I went into world history class, the teacher asked me a question and I didn’t understand and i started to cry. I lived in Lakewood for a few months and my parents decided to move to Saint Paul, Minnesota because my parents heard that in Minnesota there were many Karen people in there and it would be easily for them to ask help. In November 2014, my family move to Minnesota. When I moved St.Paul, MN I went to Washington Technology Magnet School. I want to thank my family to immigrate to this country and now I have better education and more opportunity to do whatever I want.