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The Giving Story

Experience the Wonder of Giving Back

In the Giving Story, we bring you powerful stories of people who have been touched by the generosity and passion of our partner charities.

This month, we bring you the compelling story of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Maw and Pawpa Roeh, who are building new lives in North Carolina after fleeing oppression in their native Burma.  Maw and Pawpa work full time in housekeeping at NCSU and farm in their spare time on the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Teaching Farm to supplement their food budget and to share with family and friends.

Here is their story in their own words:

Since 1945, my people have been forced out of the cities. They have had to flee to the mountains, to the jungles. They are in the countryside and they are illiterate, they do not even know what writing is. People think differently after living in the jungle for too long. People need to be revitalized. They need education and opportunity.

There is a lot more freedom here than in Burma. In Burma we did not have the opportunity to work for ourselves. We had to work for the Burmese army building trenches, camps, laying barbed wire. Life there is hard and there is no security.

When we came here, we did not understand anything. We wanted to have a farm, but did not know how to make that happen. As refugees, we came with nothing, we had no tools. People built this shed for us.  We did not know how to farm in the US and we are still learning. We need people who can teach us about seasons, and what to plant each season, what to do about insects, how to eat healthily.   Being able to farm on the Teaching Farm has offered me the chance to eat my own vegetables from Asia: pumpkin, water gourd, morning glory, watercress--organic Asian vegetables.

There is so much we would like to share with people here… the way we cook! How to make a Karen porridge: soak rice, then pound it into powder. Put pumpkin and yam leaves in boiling water with the rice powder and the seasonings you want. Bamboo shoots, too.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle has been a great place to learn.  We need education—we need education if we are to live in the US. We need to learn the language. We need to know how to farm, how to have a business. If you don’t know how to eat healthy, because of lack of education, your life expectancy is very short. Now that we are here, our lives are getting longer. We want to stand up on our own.  Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is helping us do that.

About Inter-Faith Food Shuttle:

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS) is an innovative hunger-relief organization serving seven counties of the greater Triangle. As a member of the Feeding America network of food banks, IFFS recovers and distributes healthy food to over 50,000 people in need per month.  Beyond putting food on a plate, IFFS teaches skills for self-sufficiency, including cooking healthy on a budget, culinary job skills, and beginner gardening.  Working side-by-side with our neighbors, our vision is that everyone has access to nutritious and locally sourced food, and lives hunger-free. Learn more at

 About Lili Engelhardt Fine Art

Art has captured the imagination and inspired the human spirit for thousands of years.  Lili Engelhardt Fine Art’s unforgettable paintings, sculptures and photographs will inspire your spirit and celebrate your family for generations to come.

Lili is an award winning artist whose portraits have been published in books and magazines and have been accepted into the Professional Photographers of America’s General Collection.  She is a member of the Professional Photographers of America and the Professional Photographers of North Carolina.  Lili has a gift for working with families, children and pets, and is passionate about creating heirloom artwork that will celebrate families today and carry them forward to the next generation.

Learn more about Lili Engelhardt Fine Art at