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Nine weeks ago we met Tin Tin and learned about her dream for her sons to have a good education and become businessmen. Every week in the studio, we see her advancing her artisan skills beside the other Burmese and Congolese women and helping to support her loved ones. We are so happy she is here!
Tin Tin was born in the city of Tvy, Myanmar, where she grew up with her mother, father and younger brother. At the age of 14, she lost both of her parents and immediately became responsible for taking care of her younger brother and managing her late mother's grocery store. Later in her life, Tin Tin met her husband and had two sons while remaining extremely connected to her brother.
In 2006, she and her husband were taken from their children and forced to work for the militia... until her husband was injured in an accident. After several years, they were offered the opportunity to resettle in the United States through a UN refugee program. And eventually, after 4 years of tireless lobbying, her sons were finally able to join them.
Today Tin Tin shares a home with her husband and two sons in Massachusetts. Every candle she labels and gift wraps shines a light on her strength, resilience and belief in a brighter future. Here is a glimpse into her life!
1. Tin Tin, can you tell us a little about your family?
I was born in Tvy, a city in Myanmar with my younger brother and parents until I was orphaned at the age of 14. My brother didn’t go anywhere without me before and after my parents died. At that time I took over my mother’s grocery store and ran it for the next 10 years taking care of my younger brother.
Later, I met my husband when we were working in a fish market. We had two sons and worked side by side until we were taken to work for the militia in 2006, me as a cook and my husband as a welder.
2. Are there any happy memories you want to share from when you were a kid?
I have fond memories of spending time with my mother on the weekends cleaning all day. Because I was a girl, it was expected that I stay home while the boys went out.
3. What do you like the most about living in the United States?
I like the health care system as well as the educational opportunities.
4. What is it like making candles at Prosperity Candle?
There is so much to learn. I like trying new things. We have fun here. We laughing. I like this job and my last job is sushi, so very quiet.
5. What led you to resettle to the United States?
We were forced to work for the militia while our children were living with my younger brother a few towns away. After a month, my husband was injured in a welding accident. Then in 2009, the UN offered us the chance to escape the militia by giving us refugee status. Our children stayed with my brother for over four years in a Thai refugee camp before they were sent to us in Massachusetts in 2014 at ages 12 and 14.
6. What was your first job in the U.S. like?
Our first job was at a Trophy shop. My husband welded the trophies and I cleaned them. Then I got a job as a nanny in Boston for a family with three young children. I would take the 1 ½ hour bus ride every week to live with them during the week and return for the weekend. I worked for them for nine years.
7. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I do cleaning and cooking. I love to listen to monks speak on You Tube.
8. Can you describe your favorite dish you like to cook?
I love fish dishes. It reminds of my time working in the fish market.
9. Do you have a favorite TV show or movie you like to watch?
I like to watch Burmese movies on YouTube.
10. Do you have any dreams or hopes?
I hope that my sons will be educated and be good businessmen.
If you enjoyed hearing Tin Tin's story send her a message welcoming her or share her story with a friend. Who knows... maybe you also share similar dreams for yourself or for your children!
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August 05, 2020
You and your family have endured many hardships and challenges. I am so happy that you are settled now in Massachusetts with your wonderful family. I pray that your kind and loving brother is safe and doing well and that you are able to be in touch with him often. May the years ahead be full of blessings and joys for you and all whom you love.