In 1999, the interfaith refugee Committee of Southeastern Connecticut sponsored an ethnic Karen woman Drucie Bathin and her two children to come to the Untied States of America. She fled from the oppression and mass killing of her people by the military dictatorship in Burma. She was not allowed to study her own language, culture, tradition and literature. She has long being to get education since she was a preschooler. However, because of many problems, she would not be able to go to school.
|The Friends of the Karen People of Burma is 501c3 non-profit organization, registered in the state of Connecticut on May 24, 2004. The goals of this organization are to promote and assist the Karen People of Burma in the areas of education, human rights, and self determination as outlined in the Mission Statement.
| Board of Directors
| Drucie Bathin: President
Drucie is an ethnic Karen woman of Burma. After Marnerplaw, (the headquarters of the Karen National Union) was occupied by the Burmese military in 1995, Drucie moved to the Maramoung Refugee Camp. The refugee camp was then attacked and burnt to the ground by the Burmese Military on April 25, 1995. Drucie quickly moved from place to place in the Karen resistance area. She lived in many refugee camps along the Thailand and Burma borders.
Drucie Bathin was a teacher, the secretary of the KYO (Karen Youth Organization) information department, a chairwoman of the Pway Baw Lu village under the Karen Women Organization and a researcher of the KHRG (Karen Human Right Group) while living in Burma.
Drucie was granted asylum by the United States of America in 1999. Drucie received an Associate Degree of Arts from Mitchell College in Connecticut and a Bachelor's Degree from Eastern Connecticut State University. With her many American friends, Drucie has founded the Friends of the Karen People of Burma to support the education in her native country of Burma.
David Nichols: Vice President
David Nichols is a native of Connecticut, graduating from Waterbury State Technical College in 1987 with an Associate’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. David has always been active with youth through his church affiliations, including filling the roles of summer camp counselor, youth group advisor, and church school superintendent. David has also been on a church sponsored mission’s trip to work at an orphanage in Oaxaca, Mexico.
David met Drucie in 2007 when he started to support the Burmese refugees that were settled in Waterbury, Connecticut. David joined the board of directors in 2008.
Brandy Buckner-Kramer: Secretary
Brandy Buckner-Kramer is invested in a range of programs at Spring Institute in Denver Colorado, including coordinating volunteers for the Institute, teaching a Community ESL class, and managing Project SHINE, a program that connects refugees and immigrants to health care while engaging them in health wellness activities and teaching health literacy in the community.
Darcy Truppo is a real estate broker who has worked with clients from all over the world. She has a long background in the not-for-profit world, having served as the president, chairman of the board, and board member for the Colorado Society of Association Executives. She was the executive director of the Colorado Chiropractic Association for many years. She also served as the vice president of a health care organization located in Denver, Colorado.
Kweh Htoo graduated from Rangoon Theological School in 1970 and after that, he came to Kawthoolei (Karen controlled area) and served as the evangelist of Pi Taka Karen Baptist Church, of Mounla Myaing Region Karen Baptist Churches. In 1979, he became the christian ministry director of Mounla Myaing Region KBC. In 1983, Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Bible School was founded, after that in 1984 Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Churches (KKBC) was also founded. He also became the secretary general of KKBC and served the organization until 1989. KKBC had seven regional sub-groups which were Sarmuper region, Salween valley region, Mae Ra Moe region, Moi river region 1, Easten Taw Naw region, Mer-Gui Tavoy region and Karenni Baptist region.
Between 1989-1998, Kwe Htoo served as KKBC vice-president. He was also ordained during KKBC annual conference in Mae La Refugee Camp in 1996. He also looked after an orphanage bording home, which was founded and funded by KKBC. In 1999, he became the pastor of Hosanna Karen Baptist Church. And he resettled into the United States in 2008. He then travel places to places to visit his former church members in the United States. And in 2010, he became the pastor of the Omaha Karen Baptist Church until today.
Paw Ler Htoo was an elementary school teacher in Kaw Thoo Lei for 6 years. In 2006, she moved to a refugee camp in Thailand on the Burmese border. She became a midwife and worked in Mae Ra Maung, a refugee clinic in Thailand and Burma, for 15 years helping women and children.
Lah Nwe Say : New York State’s Representative
Lah Nwe Say was born in Pa Ta Village in the Karen State of Burma. Lah Nwe Say graduated from Kawthoolei Karen Central High School in 1984. After she graduated, she became a teacher in Mae Tay Traw and Klo Pa Klow village middle school in Burma.
Due to the instability of the Karen village, she moved to Mae La's Refugee Camp in 2004. She came to United State of America in 2007 along with her children and her husband and resettle in Utica, New York. She is a volunteer for the Friends of the Karen People of Burma who support teachers such as her.
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