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New non-profit to assist local Burmese population

Ashley Hirtzel

A new support center aims to assist the large Burmese population in Buffalo. The Burmese Community Support Center is located on Buffalo’s Westside and is run by the Burmese community.

The non-profit organization was created to provide support to the 8,000 Burmese people living in Buffalo.

Client Services Coordinator Chan Thu says the Burmese Community Support Center or BCSC isn’t a replacement for existing refugee service organizations.

“The culture here is very different compared to back in Burma and our people are facing lot of cultural differences and of course language barriers. So, they are facing some problems like they don’t know where to go to get assistance and they don’t know how to call the police if they have any problems,” said Thu.

The BCSC is grant-funded through the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The organization was created with help from the International Institute of Buffalo and Jericho Road Ministries. It was created after a survey of more than 100 Burmese people found that the community was in need of additional support. Client Services Coordinator Lin Naing conveys the BCSC’s mission.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News
Chan Thu working at her desk.

“To promote and enhance the quality of life for the refugees from Burma who live in Buffalo,” said Naing.

Thu says the large Burmese population is made up of a number of  different ethnic groups that all speak different languages. She says they hope to help the whole community ease into their new life in the United States.

“We can teach our people more efficient than other cultures, because we know each other very well,” said Thu.

The BCSC is currently assisting people in the area by referral and appointment only. In the future they hope to be able to accommodate walk-ins as well. For more information call 716-882-8818.