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Khin Mar Cho holding yellow dress

Khin Mar Cho holding a traditional Burmese blouse that she sewed. [2]

Life in Cache Valley

Coming from Thailand refugee camps, some Burmese Muslim refugees were assigned to Salt Lake City, Utah (with others assigned to other states). Many migrated to Cache Valley for employment purposes to work at JBS meat packaging plant in Hyrum, Utah. [1] 

Kaung Lay said, "I work and don’t have to use food stamps anymore to buy food for my family." His wife, Khin Mar Cho, sews to supplement the family income. [2] Ka Sin noted in his interview "I don’t know if I like my work or not. I have to work." When asked, "what is the difference between living in the refugee camp and living in Cache Valley," Ka Sin replied, "it’s the difference between brown and the sky." [3]

The Burmese Muslim refugees in Cache Valley are proud that their children are in school and have the potential to improve their lives through education. Currently, most of the Burmese Muslim children attend Wilson and Hillcrest Elementary schools, Mount Logan Middle School, and Logan High School.

Learning English, though necessary, can prove difficult. For many it is hard to find time, with family and job responsibilities, to go to English classes. But, without English profiiency, many noted that it is difficult to go to the doctor or to parent teacher conferences without an interpreter. Sa Jan says, “I feel like I am not included in American culture because I don’t know the language.” In the future, she hopes to become a US citizen. [4]

Ka Mar would like to go to school and learn English to improve his and his familiy's lives. Many Burmese Muslims have to travel to Salt Lake City (a distance of over 80 miles) to find a grocery store with traditional food. Ka Mar would like to own a grocery store one day. [5]


[1] JBS. JBS USA. JBS. 2015. Web. 28 May 2015.

[2] Kaung Lay. Personal interview. 16 May 2015.

[3] Ka Sin. Personal interview. 17 May 2015.

[4] Sa Jan. Personal interview. 16 May 2015.

[5] Ka Mar. Personal interview. 15 May 2015.