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Burma/Karen Project


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.


Karen Children's Books--Karen children’s books from the Cornell Echols Collection, available online with permission from the publisher. 

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. The Burma Explorer box is a great hands-on resource for teaching and learning about Burma/Myanmar. 

Teacher Training

SEAP Outreach can provide in-service and after school professional development presentations for school districts, professional learning communities, or other groups of teachers or community service providers. These workshop presentations on Burma/Myanmar are designed to help participants 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 and important part of the world.

Language Learning

As part of the Myanmar Initiative, SEAP Outreach is working to create and fund opprotunities to learn Burmese. From courses at Cornell to student led workshops to classes at community college, SEAP outreach is collaborating with a range of people and organizations to create as many opportunities to learn the languages of Burma/Myanmar as possible.  

One such oppotrunity is a begining conversation course offered at Mohawk Valley Community College. Taught by U Saw Bwel Bwel, a Burmese-American immigrant who also works as a Scheduler and Translation Services Coordinator for Compass Interpreters, the course is intended to introduce students to basic conversationals skills, and some of the history and culture of Myanmar. U Saw Bwel Bwel is a bank teller at the Bank of Utica, and has worked extensively with refugee community. 

All are welcome, especially tthose with no prior exposure to the language. This course is especially geared towards  those who work in the fields of healthcare, social services, or education, and serve refugees from this region. 

Course: Conversational Burmese for Beginners (CRN 18861)

Instructor Name: Saw Bewl Bewl

Duration: October 6 - November 11

Hours: Every Tuesday, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Location: Utica AB 243, Mohawk Valley Community College

Registration and Supply Fee: $89.00 (Scholarships are available to teachers in the school district)

You can register the class here

For more information, please call 315-792-5300.