• Books For All
  • STORY 04 A Library in a Refugee Camp Is Where My Journey Began

A Library in a Refugee Camp Is Where My Journey Began

Mr. Shee Sho
Myanmar(Burma) Refugee Camp, Now working as a teacher of Art.

Mr. Shee Sho, who grew up in a refugee camp when he was little and then moved to the United States with his family, was a boy who liked to imitate pictures in library books. He was saved by painting when he would visit the library in his childhood. Mr. Shee Sho, wished to get a job teaching painting and fulfilled his dream.

I Spent Lots of Time in the Library when I Lived in a Refugee Camp.

I drew a lot of pictures in the library. And now I have become a professional artist. I graduated from an American university in March 2017 and earned a degree in animation. A library in the refugee camp is where my path to this day began.

At the age of four, we fled the village which the then Burmese army was approaching and crossed the border to a refugee camp in Thailand. After travelling through several refugee camps, we settled in the Mae Ra Ma Luang refugee camp when I was six years old.

The Library Was My Second Home

I think I was only about 10 years old when a library was opened in the refugee camp. The library was really my second home. On Saturdays when there was no school, I spent the whole day in the library. On every school day, I went to the library during lunchtime. I loved reading picture books and drawing pictures. I read all the picture books in the library and always looked forward to the delivery of new ones. I couldn’t stop turning the pages of picture books that I had already read to see the beautiful pictures in them. What I liked most was Drawing Day. I didn’t have anything to draw at home, so I went to the library to draw pictures. I especially liked to draw beautiful landscapes in Thailand and Burma.

The community  Library  which he used to go

Though I participated in the picture book contest every year, I could not win a prize for some years. And yet, I wanted to learn how to draw pictures and visited the library every day to study them. Then, one year my picture was awarded a prize. On hearing the news, I couldn’t believe it was true. I was really happy when I saw my first picture book that was published.

Mr. Shee Sho, picture book Two Princes, which was published in 2009, won the top prize in the painting category. The book bears his name, Mr. Shee Sho, as the illustrator.

I Want to Teach Children the Fun of Art

After that, I settled in the United States as a refugee for resettlement in June 2010. My life changed completely, but I felt that I finally belonged to the world. In the refugee camps, I felt that I didn’t belong anywhere. Still, since I came to the U.S., not everything has been easy because of culture shock. I had a difficult time, but after graduating from high school, I went on to a university where I could study art, which I had been interested in for a long time, and I was able to major in painting. Later, I changed my major to animation, and I learned painting, filmmaking, photography techniques, etc. Finally, in March 2017, I graduated from university successfully. Since graduation, I teach art, photography, etc. at a school. I don’t know if my dream will come true, but I want to get a job in the animation industry in the future.

When I used to live in a refugee camp, the library was the only source of knowledge. I hope that children in refugee camps will read books in the library in order to learn about the world. And I also want them to think about their future and to start thinking about what they want to do. Then, they will surely find their dreams.