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Karen Community Cultural Camp

Karen Community Cultural Camp

There are more than 140,000 refugees living in camps along the Thailand Burma border. Most of these are ethnic minority Karen. In 2007 Canada welcomed many Karen refugees, approximately 200 settled in Saskatoon. Upon arrival there were typical refugee settlement services provided. However, there was a language barrier as there were no Karen (S’Gaw) language translators in Saskatoon. The Karen refugees have settled in Saskatoon and have continued to live in the Meadowgreen neighbourhood. Most of the children attend WP Bate School and Mount Royal Collegiate in the area and the majority of the adults are employed.

The Culture Camp has been running for the past 5 years and has been provided entirely by volunteers and donations. It is a 2-week camp taking place in the late afternoon and evening. Instruction is provided by Karen community leaders, traditional food is provided by families whose children are participating in the camp.

The objective of the camp is to ensure all Karen (children, youth and elders) living in Saskatoon are able to maintain the Karen S’Gaw language (speaking, reading and writing) and culture. This is an opportunity to increase the literacy of Karen community members. The addition to the camp this year is to provide further connection to the Saskatoon cultural community and services. The camp will also provide an opportunity for the Saskatoon community to learn more about the Karen community and culture.

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