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Community led non-profit to assist Buffalo's Burmese population

A new support center aims to assist the large Burmese population in Buffalo. The Burmese Community Support Center (BCSC) is located on Buffalo’s Westside and 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 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,” says Thu.

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

“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 assist 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 appointment only. In the future they hope to be able to accommodate walk-ins as well. The organization was created with help from the International Institute of Buffalo and Jericho Road Ministries. The BCSC website is coming soon, for more information call 716-882-8818.