Meet Hsa Hser

“Growing up in refugee camps and witnessing my parents serve the camp community through their work in social and health fields, I always knew that I wanted to work with the Karen community. I want my community to be able to thrive on their own.” Hsa Hser, Community health worker, WellShare International

Your support is helping us expand vital programs to the Karen refugee community. Community health workers are an integral bridge between their communities and optimal wellbeing.

St. Paul, MN, is home to the largest Karen community in the United States, including Hsa Hser and her family. Hsa Hser is among a rapidly growing young Karen population residing in Minnesota and is attuned to the evolving needs of her community.  In fact, an estimated 64% of the local Karen population are under the age of 40.

Driven by her desire to give back to her community, Hsa Hser has paved a professional path for herself as a community health worker with WellShare, where she advocates for her community and leverages partnerships with other community agencies such as the Karen Organization of MN, Rice Street Clinic, and Roselawn clinic.

Hsa Hser is able to engage her community in health education topics that have historically been taboo through creating spaces to discuss culturally challenging topics. Fear, shame, and isolation are contributing factors to undiagnosed and untreated concerns, including sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

“This class is helping with my anxiety and depression. Just being able to connect openly with the group has helped me feel less alone and remember that I am a part of a community that cares.” – Program participant

Hsa Hser also facilitates intergenerational community building through her workshops for parents of youth struggling with mental health and substance issues, monthly peer support groups, and even a Karen weaving circle to connect participants with their traditional cultural roots.

“I look forward to coming to this group, so I don’t have to be alone at home struggling. It’s a safe space for people. Whenever I come, I am able to share, relax, and laugh.” – Support group member

In 2024, our goal is to expand our successful Family Home Visiting programs to include postpartum support for local Karen Families.

Your generosity is helping Hsa Hser provide critical postpartum care, family planning and other critical health information to local Karen families.  

To learn more or to find out about how you can support these vital programs please contact, 612-913-1522.

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