karen5
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
The OLIP Council is committed to leadership.  In only a few years, we have a common vision and priorities, and are up to the task of implementing the Ottawa Immigration Strategy.

Salimatou Diallo
OLIP Council Vice Chair, Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
The WOW seminar on immigrant women’s nutrition and health was a step in the right direction towards closing the gap between academic researchers and service providers.

Josephine Etowa
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa
The City of Ottawa will continue to play a lead role in the implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy, just as we did in the founding of OLIP.

Steve Desroches
City Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Ottawa
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. Welcoming Ottawa Week offers a platform for Ottawa residents to celebrate both this…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa
Welcoming Ottawa Week is wonderful platform to demonstrate our city’s longstanding openness to immigration and commitment to supporting newcomers’ successful integration. …

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

A migration story as told by a Karen Woman

June 28, 2016

karen1Thelay Paw Kyi is an ethnic Karen woman who, against all odds, came to Canada with her family. She was born in Karen State,(Kawthoolei) in Burma

In this work she depicts the series of events that are her life. Thelay, a leader in the Ottawa Karen Community resettled in Ottawa, Canada in 2006

The following is a narrative of this mixed media that Thelay shares with others;

“You can see the beginning of my story in the lower left corner, I lived with my parents in our Karen village. It was a peaceful farming life along the river. When I was twelve years old we learned that the military government in Burma had started a war against our people. When they (the SPDC soldiers) came to our village my family had to run away.The soldiers burned our village down.

Centre grey and dark green – We ran away into the jungle. We were like thousands of little mice running through the jungle to get away from the killer cobra (the military) That cobra kept hunting us all through the jungle. Our Karen people were killed and murdered and the women were raped and then shot. We lived in the jungle, thousands of mice running, and running, and running.

Lower right: We ran to Thailand and for a few years we stayed in Thai/Karen villages. Then the Tiger Kingdom (Thailand) gathered up all the Karen people that came from Burma and put us into refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border where we were moved from camp to camp. The Karen people in the Tiger Kingdom were controlled by the Thai soldiers. If we left our cage we were put in prison where we had to pay money to get out. Then, back the mice would scurry, into their refugee cages always under the eye of the fierce tiger. We just stayed in the camp. Some NGO’s helped us to build our life in the camp, they helped us with schools and hospitals and food.

Top right: Then in 2006 the UNHCR and NGO’s decided that the Karen people in the camps could go to the resettle to many countries. My family and some of my Karen friends flew to Ottawa, Canada. When I first came to Canada I didn’t know any English now I’m improving a little. And that’s the end of my story, now I have a new life. We are free. ”

Top: Family photos and symbols

Story originally posted by KLEO Ottawa.