Sharing stories of refugees from Burma resettling in San Diego
KOSD News & Notes
A publication of the Karen Organization of San Diego
Volume 1 ~ Issue 4, September 2013

Learn Karen
How are you?: Na oh hsoo oh klay ah
I'm fine, and you?: Ya oh hsoo oh klay, neh maw
Where are you from?: Nah neh hpeh leh

Recent Event & Program Highlights
Spotlight On: HOMESPUN
Upcoming Events & Programs
New Volunteers
Fall Schedule

On Tuesday, August 6th from 4:30-9pm at Colina del Sol Park in City Heights, community members gathered to march for peace and safety, participate in activities and a candlelight vigil, witness live performances, get information on community resources and hear guest speaker Representative Marti Emerald! National Night Out is a nationally recognized event to take a stand against crime as a community. The event takes place at night to make a statement: To reclaim the night; it is about communities coming together with their shared goals of improving safety and increasing youth activities.  A huge thank you to the City Heights Community Development Corporation for helping to put on such a successful event and promoting a safe City Heights!
Throughout the Summer, various youth participated in a writing lab and reading club. Both proved to be a great success! The curriculum from the writing lab focused on empowering youth and engendering hope, encouraging students to think critically about the sustainability of humanity's relationships with each other around the globe. The reading club taught students about phonics, sight words, and using  games and their imaginations for creative learning. All participants earned Certificates of Completion, and a few choice students received Amazing Attendance Awards. Students from the writing workshop received notebooks for keeping their work organized. Students from the reading club received fun books to take home and continue practicing. Thank you to all the wonderful students who came ready to learn and all the fantastic volunteers and staff who made it all possible!
On August 23rd from 11:30am-2pm in City Heights, La Maestra put on a Fundraiser for culture and healing through art programs at their Generations Foundation. The Fundraiser included an International Fashion Show, featuring traditional and refined fashions from Burma, Iraq, Somalia, El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam, South Sudan, Cuba, Laos, and Peru. Traditional cultural dishes were provided at each table as well. Generations is an inter-generational center in City Heights, providing a safe, central hub where adults and teens can learn new skills and build community through sharing their cultures and experiences. KOSD is so thankful to have been a part of the exchange!
One of KOSD's objectives is to preserve the Karen and other minority groups' culture and inform the general public about the Karen and other refugees from Burma. A part of that is maintaining cultural traditions, including language, music, dance, food, and various kinds of craftsmanship. Thus Karen and Burmese classes for beginners and advanced students were held at the office throughout the summer. Citizenship classes also took place at the office, helping clients prepare for the daunting citizenship test, in partnership with Jewish Family Services. In addition, through funding provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, KOSD partnered with community based organizations to provide weekly summer workshops on topics the community deemed important. These included workshops provided by the International Rescue Committee, SAY San Diego, License to Freedom, County of San Diego Child Protective Services and Alliance for Community Empowerment (from UPAC). A huge THANK YOU to all presenters and all those who participated!
Hightlight: CONNECT2WORK
A huge thank you to the International Rescue Committee for putting on Connect2Work throughout the summer. A number of youth from Burma participated in the program. They learned key job searching skills, built resumes, attained interview preparation, and learned conflict management and professional communication. After the training, students are placed in paid internships to gain hands on experience in the career path of their choice. KOSD acquired two student interns from the program, welcoming De Grey and Than Than Aye to our team! They are committed and knowledgeable, we are so thankful to have their assistance and to help them reach their goals.
Witness the official launch of HOMESPUN: Born in Burma...Made in America at KOSD's Fall Fundraising Festival on Saturday, September 28th! Demonstrations will take place, featuring bamboo loons and traditional handcrafted materials being weaved similarly to how they would be crafted in Burma. Products will also be available to purchase at the event, including bags in many shapes and sizes. "[HOMESPUN is] a community-driven project where refugees from Burma living in San Diego preserve, share, and reinvent their traditional craft of weaving and sell their creations through HOMESPUN. The innovation uses community-based education to empower entrepreneurs among the refugee community... It promotes indigenous culture, language, and storytelling in a communal learning environment. Producing and selling woven goods is just the first step toward creating other enterprises and gaining leadership skills for life. Weavers gain skills to become master teachers, passing on the art of weaving to the broader San Diego community. Refugees from Burma are new to the US, and this project is about catching the wave of creative energy at a critical moment for a community that hasn't been exposed to this opportunity before." Read the full business plan for HOMESPUN here! A great deal of planning and hard work has gone into this micro-enterprize initiative, KOSD is so excited for it's launch!


Friday, September 27th, 2013 a Youth Led Town Hall Meeting will take place from 4:30-7pm at the East African Community and Cultural Center. This will be an opportunity for youth to share their concerns and what programs, events and resources they want available to them this year. In addition, there will be resources currently available to students tabling at the event, a DJ playing music, food to share stories over, round table discussions, and keynote speakers. This event is brought to you by Say San Diego, StarPal, and the youth of City Heights! Come have fun and get your voice heard!


First Generation Youth Group and KOSD community leaders are helping to put on an exciting event for the first time ever! Join us, Saturday, September 28th, 2013 for the Fall Fundraising Festival at Colina del Sol Park! Soccer tournaments will start early, at 7:30am, volleyball and cane ball will follow throughout the day. These tournaments are very special, because they are a reenactment of the tournaments clients organized in the refugee camps to help raise spirits. Traditional food from Burma will be available for purchase starting at 10am. Booths for games for children and adults will be located on the grassy field, including three legged races, candle lighting relays, painting and drawing contests, a jumper and more! Booths for arts and crafts will also be available; learn origami, how to make traditional Japanese paper masks and lanterns, or buy various bags made through traditional weaving methods from Burma. View demonstrations of this traditional art form at the event as well. As mentioned above, HOMESPUN will be debuted, so don't miss out! As always, there will be music and dance and fun for the whole family! We expect to wrap up the event around 5pm. Help spread the word by sharing with your community! Join us on the day to raise funds and most importantly to celebrate cultures from Burma!


Join KOSD at the Mosaic in Barrio Logan for an exciting fundraising event Friday, November 8th from 7-11pm. There will be local bands performing, local artwork displayed, delicious finger food and goodies, as well as a silent auction! KOSD hopes to widen it's reach with this event by creating new partnerships and spreading awareness!


Stay turned for news and updates on the planning of this years Karen New Year!

Check out and share this informational flyer in regards to KOSD's After School Program, taking place at our office on student's short school day, Wednesdays, from 1-4pm. Tutors will be available to help students with their homework and provide social, cultural and  extracurricular enrichment opportunities as well as academic support!

We would like to welcome Deante and Joe to our volunteer team! Deante has been helping with our After School Program, tutoring youth in English, Math, Science and Spanish! He says his favorite part about volunteering has been "learning about their cultures and teaching them new things about my culture. I feel I bring an urban view with a positive direction ". Joe has been spearheading our Job Development Program, coming down the pipeline in October. He has been creating a job searching database for KOSD, as well as creating and adapting materials for a Job Development Workshop focusing on work ethics and job searching skills. Our work would not be possible without the help of such committed individuals!

Interested in volunteering? 
Please e-mail our Volunteer Coordinator

A huge THANK YOU to dedicated employers who again and again have seen the value in hiring KOSD clients.  A shout out to those employers that everyone here at KOSD deems our valuable partners: Mountain Meadow Mushroom Farm, Hanaoka Restaurant, 99 Ranch Market, ESMI, AJM Packaging, Kings Inn, Seafood City, and Mellano & Company: Flower Farm. 


September, October, November
Wednesday After School Program
Saturday First Generation Planning Meeting

ESL and Job Development To Be Determined, starting in October...stay tuned!

Monitors for PC Computers
Laptops & Desktops
Bus Passes
School Supplies
Kitchen Supplies
Maps (Burma, World)
Puzzles, Games
Tickets, Gift Cards
Fabric, Needles, Thread, Buttons

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