SEAP Outreach has created the Burma/Karen Project in response to the surge of requests for information and training about Burma and ethnic groups such as the Karen, who make up the bulk of the in-coming Southeast Asia refugee population in upstate New York and many other communities in the U.S. We have developed a background primer on Burma, with some classroom activities.
We are committed to providing educational resources on Burma and its many ethnic groups through our lending library and the Burma/Myanmar Explorer Box—a traveling culture kit of objects for use by teachers and community organizations. We also offer professional development workshops for teachers and presentations for community groups and businesses that focus on cultural and historical background.
An eight-week series of Karen language lessons were pilot-tested and recorded in fall 2010 at Belle Sherman Elementary School in Ithaca. Weekly lessons were provided to all of the Kindergarten and First Grade classes. The lessons from each week are posted here as a pdf with audio so that teachers, parents, and students and others can practice and learn. For access to the lessons, click here to be redirected to webpages corresponding to each lesson. You can also download the attachments below; just right-click (control-click for mac users) on the attachments to save them to your desktop.
The Burma/Karen Project Includes:
- Burma/Karen Community Workshop Hosted on Saturday, May 8, 2010. If you would like a similar workshop or presentation, we can work with you to meet your needs.
- Burma Explorer Box Items - Karen and Burmese textiles, Karen alphabet posters and other educational posters, maps, decorative banners, magazines, booklets, puppets, old coins, and much more.
- Karen Children’s Books – Karen children’s books from the Cornell Echols Collection, available online with permission from the publisher.
- Burma/Karen Resource List - SEAP lending library listings and recommended readings
- Teacher Training - In-service and after school professional development presentations are available to help teachers understand the history and culture of this complex country and the diverse ethnic groups that make up its population. As Karen, Chin, and Burmese refugees resettle in the U.S. teachers need to find ways to better understand the backgrounds of their new students as well as ways to help all students learn more about this fascinating part of the world. For more information visit our past teacher training page.
Essential Web Resources for Burma-Karen Background and Teaching
- Drum Publications: the premier publisher of texts in Karen, many of which are available for download.
- The Open Society Institute: Burma Project/Southeast Asia Initiative
- BurmaNet News
- Learning to Listen: A Manual for Oral History Projects (English and Burmese versions)
- The Karen people: culture, faith, and history (by the Karen Buddhist Dhamma Dhutta Foundation)
Other Useful Web Resources
- Karen Human Rights Group
- The Outer Voices Project
- The Curriculum Project
- Online Burma/Myanmar Library
- Cultural Orientation Resource Center (COR)