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Ithaca Asian Girls on the Move: Reunited and Reinvigorated

Ithaca Asian Girls on the Move group photo

 

Ithaca Asian Girls on the Move (IAGM) is an Ithaca-based community group that supports the needs of young Burmese refugees in the region. With a focus on education and community service, the members of IAGM have been involved in organizing Burmese New Year celebrations at Cornell, teaching Karen language classes at local elementary schools, making videos informing educators about their educational needs, and holding community dinners to foster friendship and communication within this diverse group. But as the seasons changed, and group members went off to new schools and new jobs, the organization quieted its activity for a while. That began to change over Thanksgiving holiday. 

As part of SEAP Outreach, Brenna Fitzgerald and Aye Min Thant met with IAGM for brunch on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to discuss the future of the group. What began with everyone shyly introducing themselves soon turned into a gathering of friends with a combination of English, Karen, Burmese, and Thai casually mingling and resulting in meaningful conversation. Despite their name, IAGM consists of a wide range of women from girls just starting high school to nursing students to a mother of two primary school-aged children. Their ideas and aspirations are just as varied. Plans to connect with their sister community in Utica in the upcoming Thingyan (Burmese New Year), questions about college admissions and funding, and a proposal to form a dance group were all discussed. It was a enriching day full of good food and friendships, and a renewed excitement about the future of the organization. 

Videos: What Teachers Should Know About Refugee Students from Burma

Part 1

Part 2