A Giving Tuesday story – Tha and Khin’s Journey Home

by Amanda Oonk

For most, buying a house is one of the most stressful experiences we go through as adults—from organizing finances, to arranging showings and inspections, to finally making the decision on where you’ll spend years with your family—it’s a big deal! Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Now imagine navigating that without speaking, reading, or writing English fluently. It seems insurmountable! Keep reading to learn how a family involved with Parents as Teachers and Literacy Council worked with our community to find a place to call home. For those of you involved with Literacy Council, you may already know the Dussaults. Carol and Nick have been involved with the Literacy Council for over 8 years. When they both became retirees this past year, they wanted to keep busy and they knew just the way: strengthen their community by volunteering to tutor a husband and wife team, Tha and Khin!

Tha (pronounced Tah) and Khin (pronounced Kin) are refugees from Burma/Myanmar, and, like many refugees, their journey has been full of obstacles. Khin and Tha were educated in their country but were unable to complete high school there. They journeyed to America, eventually settling in Sheboygan. After 2 years in the United States and having worked with the Parents as Teachers (PAT) home visitation program, Khin became a student at the Literacy Council, referred by the PAT program, with the goal of being able to have conversations in English so she can be more independent. Tha, her husband, attends Lakeshore Technical College to improve his English and work skills, with a goal of becoming a licensed welder—a great companion skill to his previous knowledge in construction, a field he worked in his native home in Myanmar. Tha, who was also referred to Literacy Council from his Parent Educator, works with Nick who helps him with his classes at LTC and to stay motivated to learn the difficult and twisting rules of the English language. He also works at a local manufacturing company to support their two kids—with another one on the way! Tha and Khin began talking with Carol, Nick, and their parent educator about how they wanted to find a larger space, with a yard, for their growing family.

Through perseverance, hard work, and support from our community, this family went through the process of obtaining a home through Habitat for Humanity and we are thrilled to share that Tha, Khin, and their 3 children will be able to move into their new home next year. Habitat for Humanity knows that people thrive physically, mentally, and financially when their home environment is safe, decent, reliable, and affordable. This stability is very important, especially for children. One unique aspect of Habitat for Humanity is that their homeowners buy in through “sweat equity,” which is a crucial part of the program and not easy. 500 hours is a lot of hours for any family, but it shows real commitment.

This Giving Tuesday, we ask for your support so we can continue to empower families to thrive in Sheboygan County and build a better future for all of us. Your donations allow us to continue virtual and in-person home visitations for Parents as Teachers parent educators, buy educational materials for families, support our Literacy Council volunteers—and much more!

A Giving Tuesday story – Tha and Khin’s Journey Home