Junior takes on responsibilities early


Contributed by Ring Te

(Top Left) Junior Ring Te poses with his two other brothers at their home in Burma. Te was about 7-years-old when this picture was taken.

Starting at the age of 6, junior Ring Te began taking on the same responsibilities as adults. He would have to cook and clean leaving him unable to attend school as a child normally would. While other kids Te’s age were outside playing, causing chaos and ruckus, Te was at home.
Te is from Chin State, Burma. He started taking care of his family at the age of 6. His father was on his way to Malaysia when he was caught and arrested in Thailand. Te then knew he needed to help create a support system for his mother and siblings. Since his dad was absent in their lives during this period of time, Te had no other option but to take on the responsibilities his father had.
Te began babysitting and cooking for his family instead of being outside exploring and playing with his friends like other kids his age were doing. At age 7, he started working on farms, walking miles a day to reach his destination of employment.
Te says he and his family came to the U.S. when he was 8 or 9-years-old. His childhood experience of having to take on adult responsibilities has made Te appreciate all of the opportunities the U.S. provides for immigrants.
It was a big change coming to the U.S. but Te feels that it was a change for the better.
“It’s different and very special. People have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. I think some people are lost because they don’t know what to do with so many of the freedoms that they have,” Te said.
Once Te’s father got out of jail in Thailand, he applied for the United Nations and Te and his whole family were able to come live their lives here, along with some of their other family members. Te’s family is currently scattered throughout the States, though, because refugees don’t have the luxury of choosing where they live. Te misses his family in Burma, the food, the landscapes and the agriculture.