"the Pain of Exile": What Social Workers Need to Know about Burmese Refugees

D. Christopher Fike, David Androff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Refugees from Burma have comprised the largest group of refugees resettling in the United States over the past decade, with nearly 90,000 people, and 19 percent of the total refugee population. However, very little literature exists that describes the cultural context and displacement experiences of this population. This article addresses that gap in the literature by examining historical, social, political, and cultural dimensions relevant to social work practice with Burmese refugees. Practice with Burmese refugees should be informed by knowledge of refugee policy, refugee resettlement, and social services delivery systems; the Burmese historical and political context; the community's specific strengths, needs, and cultural diversity; and human rights and social justice issues. Strong community partnerships between social workers and indigenous community leaders, between resettlement agencies and ethnic community-based organizations, and between different Burmese refugee groups are important to meeting short-and long-term social services needs and fostering successful adaptation and community integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Work (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Burma
  • Burmese
  • displaced people
  • refugees
  • resettlement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of '"the Pain of Exile": What Social Workers Need to Know about Burmese Refugees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this