Ehtoorah was born in Burma/Myanmar in 1994. Three years after his birth, he and his family, along with many others, were forced to flee from their homes due to persecution and human rights atrocities committed by the Burma military regime. Many were victims of the genocide, but Ehtoorah made it across the border and into Thailand. Although Thailand was not the home of his family, they were fortunate to be able to live without constantly looking over their shoulders in fear of persecution. Ten years after surviving in a destitute habitat of a Thai Refugee Camp, he was privileged to step into The Land of The Free for a fresh start.
A new beginning in America was a blessing and a curse; there were opportunities all around but there were also challenges. Instead of running around to avoid landmines, bullets, and rockets, he faced a different giant: language and education barriers. Ehtoorah describes starting a new life in America:
“It felt like stepping on a basketball court pairing up with Kevin Hart to play against Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Or lining up to race against Usain Bolt. Or opening up a business with a budget of $100 to compete against Amazon, Microsoft, or Apple!”
Growing up in the Refugee Camp and facing a poor education system, he did not have the formal education of an American student when he stepped foot in the United States at the age of fourteen. In a spout of motivation and direction, he decided to drop out of Glendale Community College in Arizona to pursue a new direction and in 2016 moved to Indianapolis with his family.
It was when he moved from Phoenix to Indianapolis in 2016 that he reached a turning point and felt called to more deeply serve his community. In 2016, he helped his parents start up a family grocery store in Indianapolis, IN. The family business was his school and the experiences exposed him to entrepreneurial business practices such as accounting, taxes, and inventory management. In turn, he gained knowledge and wisdom as well as a deeper relationship with those frequenting his store from the community.
Now, he is an active member of First Karen Baptist Church. Seeing a need to bring the community closer together and develop leadership while honoring cultural heritage amongst the youth, he began Fellowship Friday in January 2019. Ehtoorah finds joy in serving the church and the community at large.
He says, “I live by a motto that commands, Let all you do be done in love, with a hope that one day I will hear, Well done, good and faithful servant!”