Afraid to be Karen

Karen people have experienced so much oppression and suffering that it has damaged our self esteem and our identity. When we leave our homes we are afraid to wear our traditional clothes and speak our language.

Caged Birds

When they sing they make people so happy.


The Karen Student Network Group (KSNG) runs many programs for its 5,000 members. We work with Karen students in the refugee camps, inside Burma and around the world.

Birthday Cake

When we have enough money we celebrate our birthdays.

Food Issues

Karen refugees live in the shadows of Thailand. We cannot legally earn money to buy healthy food for our families. The food we receive from aid organizations is not very nutritious.

Waiting for a Ride Home

This woman is Thai-Karen. She was born in Thailand but she doesn't have as many rights because she is an ethnic minority. She came to the refugee camp because it is the only place where she can see a doctor.


Since she doesn't have enough money for the movie she watches through a crack in the back wall.

Trash Bin Lounge Chair

When children get lice their parents shave their heads. Unfortunately it happens a lot. This boy wanted to keep a little hair. It's a new style.

Long Neck Girl

She is treated like an animal. She is from one of our cousin tribes, whose women wear copper rings on their necks. They have been nicknamed "long necks" and "giraffe women." The Thai government keeps them in a separate camp where tourists pay money to photograph them like animals in a zoo.

Karen National Flag

Our flag represents dignity for all Karen people. Red is for bravery, white is for purity and blue is for loyalty. In the corner there is a "Klo," a sacred Karen drum. We use this drum on special occasions like weddings, New Year's Day and funerals. The Klo is made of metal, tin or gold and only the community leaders strike it.


This is the cheapest fish around.

Collecting Stories

There is an Internally Displaced Peoples' (IDP) camp inside Burma, just across the Moei River. When Thailand does not admit refugees the people created their own camp on the Burma side. My friend is recording their stories.