The Inspiring Journey Of The Htoo Family

Sanctuary Australia FoundationBlog, Refugee Stories, Travel Loan Program

A newly arrived Burmese family resettled in Brisbane after receiving a travel loan from Sanctuary.
Paw Ra Htoo’s family with relatives grateful to be safe in Brisbane Australia.

In the Mae La Refugee Camp, Thailand, the Htoo family stood as a testament to resilience amidst turmoil. Paw Ra Htoo, her husband Tha Ku, and their three children – Mya, Kyaw, and Aye – hailed from the Karen ethnic group of Myanmar.

Born and raised in the green hills of their village, Paw Ra Htoo and Tha Ku faced constant threats from the Burmese military. Their childhoods were marked by fleeing into dense jungles, seeking refuge from soldiers’ brutality. Each return home brought uncertainty and fear of uprooting again.

The decision to flee to Thailand

In 1998, escalating attacks shattered their sense of safety. With homes ablaze and their community torn apart, the Htoo family joined the exodus to the Thailand border. The establishment of Mae La Refugee Camp by the UN and Thai officials provided a sanctuary amidst the chaos, offering temporary respite from war horrors. Thailand currently hosts more than 90,337 refugees from Myanmar according to the UNHCR.

How Sanctuary helped

Years passed in the camp. Approved for resettlement by the Australian Immigration Department, the family faced the daunting task of funding their airfares to Australia. Sanctuary Australia Foundation stepped in, providing an interest-free airfare loan, promising a new start in Brisbane.

“Without Sanctuary’s help, it would have been impossible to be reunited with my family in Australia. Thank you so much.”

~Paw, sponsor and family member in Brisbane

With hearts full of hope, the Htoo family boarded a plane to Brisbane. Leaving behind the refugee camp, Paw’s tears held memories of hardship. Ahead lay a brighter future, a chance for her children to thrive.

In Brisbane, the Htoo family found refuge and a welcoming community.

How you can help to reunite refugee families

Sanctuary’s interest-free airfare loan program is a lifeline for families approved to come to Australia but unable to afford the airfare. Your support is crucial. With IOM no longer providing such loans, there’s an urgent need for assistance. Your help can make a difference in reuniting refugee families.

Each donation continues to give over and over again, as each travel loan is gradually repaid, recycled and this money is used again to help another refugee families, with a 100% repayment record.

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