Six weeks ago we met Shah Naw and her wonderful smile... so bright and full of enthusiasm that you can't help but smile along with her. We are happy she is here!
Shah joined Prosperity Candle in August 2019, as her second job, after resettling to the United States from a Thai refugee camp where she grew up with her four brothers and parents. Before she was born, her family was forced to flee their ancestral home in Burma to escape escalating violence from the Myanmar military. While the camp brought shelter and safety, Shah had limited freedoms and few opportunities to build a future for herself.
Then in 2008 Shah and her family were offered the opportunity to resettle in the U.S... which began her path that led her to our small studio of women artisans in Massachusetts! With every candle poured by hand, we see Shah supporting a brighter future for her two daughters. She's happily offered to share a glimpse into her life.
1. Shah, can you tell us a little about your family?
I’m born in Thailand, but my parents were born in Burma. I have four brothers. I grew up in a Thailand refugee camp, all the time in school. We were learning Burmese language, Thai, Karen, and English everyday. I learned how to make our culture’s shirts and dresses. In 2008 I came here to the United States with my parents and my daughter. I just moved to Massachusetts 3 years ago from Hartford. I have two daughters now. The older one is 12 and the younger is 7 years old.
2. Are there any happy memories you want to share from when you were a kid?
When I was really young my parents worked for a farmer, and me and my brother would run around the river and play. It was a really big river.
3. What do you like the most about living in the United States?
I love the United States. We have a job, we have a car, and a house. If you are a good person, you have everything. In the refugee camp there is nothing. After you finish high school, you have nothing you can do and nowhere you can go. We just get food for every day. The only money we could make is by the shirts we sell to support our family.
4. What is it like making candles at Prosperity Candle?
I love it! It makes me more quiet and slow down. Other jobs have many people and you have to rush everyday. My other job I did for 10 years. I decorated cakes.
5. Do you have a favorite scent?
I like Blossom and Musk in our Blue and White Collection. It smells like flowers!
6. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I like to cook and my daughter likes to cook Thai food. If we don’t cook, we like to go to the park and the river. And on Sundays we go to church.
7. Can you describe your favorite dish you like to cook?
I love a lot of Thai food. I cook Thai noodle soup with rice noodles and vegetables. I like American food, too. I took my kids to the pizza store in Hartford near the church. Both of them love pizza.
8. Do you have a favorite song or type of music you listen to?
We listen to music only when we drive, like Christian music. But when I drive my kids I have to play FM radio... with my Karen music they ask me "mommy can you turn down the volume", but with FM it’s "mommy can you turn up the volume."
9. Do you have a favorite TV show or movie you like to watch?
I love the Ellen Show. She’s funny! The other show I like is with singing, the Voice. My older daughter loves to sing. The little one loves Karen music.
10. Do you have any dreams or hopes?
For myself I hope that I have a job that I can support my family. For my kids, I hope they grow to be a good person.
If you enjoyed hearing Shah's story send her a message saying hello or share her story with a friend! Who knows... maybe one of you also loves the Ellen Show!