The Karen Learning & Education Opportunities (KLEO) Support Group is a group of volunteers, passionate about the struggle of the Karen people. We contribute considerable time and energy, and initiate projects on behalf of the Karen, in Ottawa and Thailand.
Our Mission: The Karen Learning & Education Opportunities KLEO Support Group’s mission is to provide educational and humanitarian support to ethnic Karen people.
Our Vision: KLEO’s unique hands on approach helps to empower ethnic Karen people facing economic, social and language barriers live better lives and create better futures.
- To provide educational and humanitarian support to Karen refugees and disadvantaged Karen communities in north-west Thailand, with a primary focus on facilitating access to education for Karen children and youth.
- To provide support to Karen refugees in the Ottawa-Carlton area by creating or helping access support services and programs, operating or assisting with programs to develop language, employment and life skills and to promote educational success, and providing mentoring and coaching on Canadian rights, responsibilities and culture.
The Karen People
- In 2006, in cooperation with UNHCR, the Federal government began the process of resettling over 800 Karen refugees from camps on the Thailand-Burma border to Canadian cities. As part of this process, Ottawa was slated to receive close to 200 Karen refugees by the end of 2007. The first group of Karen, 98 persons in total, arrived in September of 2006.
- The Karen People are a high-needs group, coming from a long stay in refugee camps
- The Karen require extensive assistance and education to ensure their adjustment and integration into Canadian life.
- Most of the Karen people in Ottawa are government assisted refugees who have been identified as high needs because they fit into the following categories:
- Are victims of violence, trauma or torture
- Lived in refugee camps for extended periods of time
- Are illiterate or have received minimal education
- Never worked
- Are not used to modern/complex lifestyles
- Have no knowledge of our official languages.
It is due to these facts that KLEO was created. KLEO is a humanitarian resource for helping the Karen people.