Restoring Dignity Staff

Hannah Vlach, Founder and Executive Director

Hannah Vlach is a native of Omaha and a graduate of the Social Work program at Creighton University (BSW ’09). She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Arts in Communication at Johns Hopkins University. In 2012, Hannah started Restoring Dignity as an all volunteer run charity, with a mission of bringing household items and furniture to refugee families in significant need. In 2018, Restoring Dignity incorporated as a non-profit and received official IRS 501(c)3 status a few months later, and Hannah became the organization’s first Executive Director. Since 2018, Hannah has expanded the organization in all directions, taking it from a charity that did occasional home-makeovers, to an organization that provides quality supportive services to Omaha’s refugee community. Outside of Restoring Dignity, Hannah’s hobbies include playing guitar, taking care of houseplants, walking while listening to music and bike riding with her kids. Hannah likes working for Restoring Dignity because, “We are able to tackle real problems and find tangible solutions that lessen unnecessary suffering among resettled families.” To read more about how Restoring Dignity got started, click here.


Paw Bway Htoo, Welcome Home Program Director

Paw Bway Htoo was born in Thailand in a refugee camp, and was resettled to the USA when she was fourteen years old. She speaks two languages, in addition to English: Karen and Burmese. She graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Paw Bway was recently chosen as one of the Extraordinary and Powerful Women of 2022 by the Karen Society of Nebraska. She graduated with her Master’s in Public Health from Concordia University. Paw Bway Htoo’s greatest accomplishments include being a first generation college graduate and raising her beautiful daughter (all while working full-time!). She likes working for Restoring Dignity because, “the organization has a heart for refugees. Everyone on the team genuinely cares about refugees and wants them to be respected and treated with dignity, even if they don’t speak English or don’t know their rights here. Everyone tries to provide refugees with a quality of life by providing education and resources.”

Chloe Ray, Director of Operations

Chloe Ray was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated with her undergraduate degree in International Studies, Human Rights, and Non Profit Management at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Chloe started interning for Restoring Dignity after she was exposed to housing injustices that were occurring to the refugee community in Omaha. Her hobbies are painting, reading, and watching documentaries. Chloe likes working for Restoring Dignity because she “deeply enjoys the work and is passionate about the mission.”

Ester Paw, Karen/Burmese Speaking Family Educator

Ester Paw was born in Huay Kalok, a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. Her family was resettled to the United States in 2008 and Ester went on to graduate from South High School. She later completed her Bachelor’s degree of Science in Public Health Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In addition to English, Ester speaks Karen and some Burmese. Ester’s greatest accomplishments include: graduating from post-secondary education, buying a house, and having the opportunity to raise a beautiful daughter in a community where everyone is loving and caring. Her hobbies include: cooking for family and friends, catching an evening sunset in the summertime and watching TEDx talks on YouTube. Ester loves working for Restoring Dignity because “the organization has wonderful, diverse staff members who genuinely work to provide direct services for the needs identified in Omaha’s refugee community and help families navigate the resources that are available in Omaha.”

Sumiran Diyali Kochari, Nepali Speaking Family Educator

Sumiran Diyali Kochari was born in Bhutan and later moved and studied in both Nepal and India. She received her Bachelor’s in Humanities in 2009. While in India, she worked as a missionary and headmistresses at a school for three years. Sumiran was resettled to the USA in 2017.  She speaks six languages, including English: Nepali, Hindi, Assamese, Nagamese and Bengali. Sumiran loves music and is an internationally famous singer in the Nepali community (check out her amazing music on YouTube!). Her greatest accomplishments are: starting a restaurant, obtaining a good, full-time job, and recording an international music video! Sumiran loves working for Restoring Dignity because, “I am able to help the community in many ways, and get to know many people. I like being recognized by people as a person who can help them in some way.”


Jacques Musavyimana, Housing Advocate

Jacques Musavyimana was born in Rwanda and was resettled to the United States in 2009. He attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha and graduated with a degree in Political Science. He went on to obtain his Master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Jacques speaks three languages, in addition to English: Kiswahili, Kirundi, and Kinyarwanda. His greatest accomplishment is that he was the first in his family to graduate from college. Jacques’ hobbies include reading, running and managing an incredible podcast called “Refugee Beyond Name.” He loves working for Restoring Dignity because “the organization and staff care from the heart. When we say that we are going to help a family, we do!”


Hadeel Haider, Family Educator

Hadeel Haider was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, and graduated with her accounting diploma. Her family was resettled as refugees to the USA on January 26th, 2009. In addition to English, Hadeel speaks Arabic. Her greatest accomplishment is raising her two sons who have become professionals: one son graduated from medical school and the other is pursuing his PhD in physics. Hadeel recently received a distinguished award for her selfless interpretation services and commitment to community. Her main hobby is Zumba, which she not only practices but teaches as well. Hadeel loves working for Restoring Dignity because “it is an organization that is dedicated to raising awareness and providing resources to the refugee population, helping them assimilate into their new home in the USA. RD comprehensively addresses all aspects and challenges that are associated with families and individuals in the community, with an atmosphere of compassion, respect and honesty. It adopts a perspective that promotes and values diversity, in such a friendly approach, yet encourages every single client to be a positive and valuable member of the Omaha community.”


Htoo Shee, Furniture Bank & Window A/C Drive Assistant

Htoo Shee’s family is from Burma, but he was born in a Thai refugee camp. He and his family were resettled to the USA in 2009. Htoo Shee is currently a high school student in Omaha and is doing well in all his classes. He enjoys playing video games, working out and building computers. Htoo Shee’s greatest accomplishment has been getting through high school smoothly. He likes interning for Restoring Dignity because “we’re able to help people who are in need of help. What Restoring Dignity does is very meaningful to me, because I know what it’s like to come to a new county with little knowledge of the new environment.”

Eh Htoo Gay, Furniture Bank Warehouse Manager

Eh Htoo Gay’s family originate from Burma, but had to flee to the Mae La refugee camp in Thailand, where he was later born. Eh Htoo Gay graduated from Benson High School and recently obtained his Bachelor’s in Business at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His hobbies include creating music (check out his amazing music on YouTube and Spotify), exercising, playing sports and hiking. Eh Htoo Gay’s greatest accomplishment has been receiving a full-ride scholarship for college. The thing he loves most about Restoring Dignity is “the impact of improving a family’s wellbeing and helping them restore their dignity.”

Eh Ka Lu Htoo, Furniture Bank Warehouse Assistant

Eh Ka Lu Htoo was born in Thailand, in the Mae La refugee camp (also known as Beh Klaw). In 2010, his family was chosen to be resettled to Omaha, Nebraska. Eh Ka Lu graduated from Omaha Benson High School, and speaks three languages: Karen, Burmese and English. His greatest accomplishment is graduating from high school. Eh Ka Lu’s hobbies include: cutting hair, taking his dogs to the park, working out and creating videos for his puppy’s TikTok channel (check out his amazing TikTok channel here). The thing he loves most about Restoring Dignity is “getting to work with the amazing team and feeling welcomed. I love working here because I get to help a lot of families.”

Kmaw Klay, Furniture Bank & Window A/C Drive Assistant

Kmaw Klay was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and came to the United States in 2009. He speaks Poe Karen, in addition to English. Kmaw is currently a student at Benson Magnet School, studying marketing and business. His hobbies include: riding a skateboard, gaming and styling his outfits. The thing he loves most about Restoring Dignity is “the people. I love how kind everyone is!”

Lulu Bakyaw, Family Educator

Lulu Bakyaw was born in Mawlamyine, Mon State, Myanmar (formerly Burma). Her family was resettled to California in 2006, and shortly afterwards they moved to Omaha. Lulu attended the University of Mawlamyine in Myanmar and studied History. She also attended Assumption University of Thailand, where she studied Business and English. Altogether, Lulu speaks English, Burmese and Karen. Lulu and her husband, Jonathan Bakyaw, have served the Karen, Karenni and Chin communities in Omaha tirelessly since arriving in 2006. Since Lulu had strong English skills that were learned in Thailand, she immediately dedicated her free time to helping refugee families acclimate in Omaha. From helping people apply for food stamps to reading mail to interpreting, Lulu’s heart of service has positively impacted hundreds of households in Omaha. Lulu considers her greatest accomplishment to be having a family of her own and taking care of them. She loves working for Restoring Dignity “because can help people in need.”

Chit Thel Oo, Family Educator

Chit Thel Oo was born in Burma and was resettled to the USA in 2011. She speaks fluent English, Karen and Burmese. Chit Thel Oo is currently pursuing a general education degree in human services at Metropolitan Community College, and is working towards obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Previously, she worked at the Omaha Public Schools TAC building as a Family Literacy Parent Liaison and also worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Chit Thel Oo’s greatest accomplishment is being a first generation college student! Her hobbies include: spending time outdoors with family, friends and her dog. She also enjoys cooking for her family. Chit Thel Oo loves working for Restoring Dignity because “Restoring Dignity has made it possible for me to contribute as a productive member of the community. I admire Restoring Dignity’s belief that through empowerment, education, and advocacy partnerships, something can and should be done to satisfy the needs of Omaha’s refugee population.”

Joyce McArthur Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator

I am so happy to be the Volunteer Coordinator for Restoring Dignity.  This position allows me to help the refugee families in the Omaha area, along with working with the fabulous staff of Restoring Dignity and also with our dedicated, hardworking volunteers.  This job gives me a sense of satisfaction and purpose that I have never experienced in my professional life.
I am originally from Omaha, NE, attending Windsor School, Norris Middle School and Central High School.  I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Omaha with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism.  I also have completed post-graduate classes in business management.
I started my career at KETV, Channel 7 where I was an operating engineer doing audio, camera work and video editing.  After my children were born, I started volunteering with the Omaha Public Schools.  This volunteering led to a 20-year career with OPS, with my final position being a manager in computer support.  I was then recruited by an educational technology company whose software is used by English Language Learners and struggling readers.  This job helped me gain insight into the refugee community in Nebraska and Iowa.  When I retired from the Ed Tech company, I started volunteering with Restoring Dignity, which then led to the honor of being offered the job of Volunteer Coordinator!
My husband Tom and I have been married for a very long time and we have two adult sons.  When asked what my greatest accomplishment is, I immediately say that it is being the mom of two smart, talented and kind sons!  I’m so lucky that they both live in Omaha! I enjoy cooking for my family, friends and colleagues, vegetable gardening, fishing, and being outside.  I particularly love having family and friends over for dinner on our deck, shaded by a huge, old elm tree! Working at Restoring Dignity has reminded me of how many good people there are in this world, and if we all just work together…we can accomplish so much!
Pu Meh, Family Educator
Pu Meh was born in Thailand at Karenni refugee camp #8. Her family was resettled as refugees to the USA in March of 2009. Pu Meh speaks Karenni and English fluently. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Pu Meh’s greatest accomplishment was getting a full ride scholarship to the university that she wanted to attend! Her hobbies are cooking, playing badminton and hiking. Pu Meh loves working for Restoring Dignity because, “we are fully committed to helping restore the dignity of all refugees to ensure their safety and well-being in their homes, as well as educating them to gain more knowledge and experience in which they might not have been taught.”

Grace Litzau, Social Work Practicum Student

Grace Litzau was born in Denver, Colorado and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s of Social Work at Creighton University. Grace speaks English and Spanish. Her greatest accomplishment has been publishing a literary research paper on the influence of Slavery on Afrocubanism as seen through poetry in Spanish and presented program evaluation research on barriers to reporting sexual harassment on college campuses. Grace has a passion for helping immigrants and refugees, which guides many of her involvements including volunteering with temporary shelters for asylum seekers and working on awareness campaigns. She is a member of various honors societies on campus and proudly holds leadership positions in the Center for Service and Justice and the Victim Intervention and Prevention Center at Creighton. Her hobbies include going to restaurants, cooking new recipes for friends and families, a good nature walk and chasing a starry night. Grace loves interning for Restoring Dignity because “Everyone is concerned with making the process of acclimating to the US easier and more dignified. The love with which everyone conducts themselves is special.”