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Jonnoto Nor Ahmad

Occupation: Student

Country of Birth: Myanmar (Rohingya)

Current: Buffalo, NY

“My goal is that I want to go to college. I want to have a job and be an art teacher.”

Jonnoto Nor Ahmad was born in Kyaukpyu, Burma. In the town, she would swim in the Indian ocean with her two sisters and two brothers when she was young. However, it was not safe to live in the Rohingya area. The Burmese military would kill them to take over the area. Families would either be killed or separated. Living in Burma was the most difficult time in Jonnoto’s life.

In order to survive, her family left Burma by boat. Yet, due to the absence of citizenship, Jonnoto couldn’t attend school in Malaysia. After three years, Jonnoto’s father decided to move to the U.S. so the children could receive an education. She was anxious about the future.

During the first week in the U.S., Jonnoto had a hard time adjusting to the sleeping pattern. She also had mixed feelings. While she was happy that she could attend school, she was also concerned about her communication in English. In 2016, she started attending PS #94 West Hertel Academy in Buffalo. With the help of classmates and teachers, she was able to adapt quickly. To improve English, she would practice by speaking in English more. Jonnoto is now a student at Lafayette International High School. The teachers help her with the classwork if she doesn’t understand, and Jonnoto helps others too. On weekends, she studies for exams or taks care of siblings.

In the future, Jonnoto wants to go to college and be an art teacher because art allows her to express emotions and cure depression. Regardless of starting a new life, Jonnoto misses her grandmother, cousins, and other loved ones who are still in Burma. She hopes that she can return to Burma and visit her family there. Then, she wants to travel around the world.