I’m a Tulsa Kid: Cingh Kim

Although English is not her first language, Kim won first place in the district Speech Arts Contest.

Leaving Myanmar for the American dream of education and a better life, 11-year-old Cingh Kim and her family came to Tulsa with the help of Catholic Charities’ refugee program. The obstacles they have had to overcome and the struggles along the way are what make Cingh such an incredible little girl. As a fifth grader, Cingh has already surpassed her parents’ second-grade education and had the opportunity to share her story at a Tulsa Public Schools board meeting. Cingh won First Place in the district Speech Arts Contest, even though English is not her native language.

cingh kim

Cingh Kim. Photo by Sheeba Atiqi

TK: Where are you from?

Cingh: Myanmar

TK: How long have you been in Tulsa?

Cingh: I’ve been in Tulsa for three years.

TK: How did you come from Myanmar to Tulsa?

Cingh: When I was still very little, my father left Myanmar to go to Malaysia where he worked and worked until he got enough money to help his family get out of Myanmar. I didn’t really see him until I was 9 years old. We spent two-and-a-half years in Yangon waiting to get our papers in order to come to the U.S. We even had to take a DNA test to prove we were related to my father!

When I got to the U.S., I could only say, “Please, Thank You and Excuse Me” in English. When I came here, I learned English from the ABC Song.

TK: What was your life like in Myanmar?

Cingh: It was hard, but fun. Kids work after school and we live in a one-room house and our bathrooms are outside. It was super hot in the summer and cold in the winter. We didn’t have any electricity in Myanmar. In the winter to be warm, we have a fireplace were we cook, and we also used it for heating. And we all would sleep together.

All the food we would eat, we would have to grow ourselves. If you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. Anyone over the age of 5 had to work. Schools didn’t provide lunch, and the teachers were mean.

TK: What do you like about Tulsa?

Cingh: The people are so nice and friendly!

TK: What are your hobbies?

Cingh:  I like to ride bikes and to sing.

TK: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Cingh: I want to be a doctor because I like to help people and care for them.

TK: What is a fun fact about you?

Cingh: When I came to the U.S., it was my first time to ride an airplane and my first time to see a movie. I watched “Frozen.” It was also my first time to drink tea and to wear socks! I can also speak three languages: Zomi, Burmese and now English!

Categories: Tweens & Teens