Newsletter

Updates about our work for the Shan refugee children in Thailand.

Bernice Koehler Johnson Honored With 50 Over 50 Award

Pollen has honored Bernice Koehler Johnson by including her in their annual "50 over 50" list, which highlights "fifty of the most inspiring and accomplished leaders from across Minnesota." Pollen kindly deems Bernice a "disruptor." Visit the 50 over 50 website to see...

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Newsletter, September 2017

Dear friends of Shan refugees: Politics and racism have created great injustices in Burma (Myanmar) this year. Persecution of the Shan, Kachin, and Karen ethnic groups by the Burmese military has increased. And military actions against the Rohingya (Muslim) ethnic...

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Newsletter, February 2017

Dear Friends of Shan Refugees: There was a shocking incident in Burma after I wrote to you last week: Prominent Muslim lawyer, Ko Ni, was killed by a hit man at the Rangoon Airport. Ko Ni was an advisor to Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for...

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Newsletter, January 2017

Dear Friend of Shan Refugees, What an exciting year 2016 was! Six of my former Shan students, all of whom fifteen years ago voiced the wish to “work for their country,” attended the Panglong Peace Conference in Burma (Myanmar) in September. Their photos sent a little...

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Newsletter, February 2016

Dear Friend of Shan Refugees: If the above photo looks familiar, it is because this is the same group of Shan students—one year later—that appeared in our last newsletter! Each year we give scholarships to children in this agricultural workers’ camp near Chiang Mai,...

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Newsletter – September, 2015

Dear Friend, Soon I will be in Thailand again, reviewing our projects for Shan refugees and migrants from Burma. In the following statement a former Shan student, who was in my English class and is now at university, encapsulated the situation of Shan migrants in...

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Newsletter – February, 2015

Dear Friends, In the photo below, which was taken this past winter, I am with Charm Tong, the Shan advocate and educator whose education projects continue to inspire the Shan youth we work with and many others to help themselves and their fellow students/neighbors...

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Newsletter – September, 2014

Minnesota Fund Raising Events: At end of April, we had a well-attended fund- raising event with food and wine by Brenda and Jeff Laux, Sue Grosse Macemon, and other board members and with music by the Rhythm Pups. In June, under the direction of Mary Anderson, Sunday...

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Newsletter – February, 2014

Dear Friends of Shan: In this newsletter, I will talk about some of the reasons that my time in Thailand becomes more rewarding each year. The two young Shan people in the photo at the right are one of the reasons. They are both well-loved migrant camp teachers and...

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Newsletter – January, 2014

Dear Friend, I have had an interesting and rewarding few months in Thailand. This year board member Vicki Staudte was able to join me for a few weeks in November to see the projects that she has been helping to support. Our first visit was to a Shan construction...

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Newsletter – October, 2013

Dear Friends, In a few days I will once again undertake the long, long journey to Thailand. These days friends ask “Why?” and “How long will you do this?” Only “Why?” has an answer: Because the young Shan refugees we help educate are “try hard” youth, who did nothing...

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Newsletter – February, 2013

Dear Friend, Here is an update on our 2013 activities with Shan refugees in Thailand. It was my great joy to have son Brent here with me for one month this year. He arrived in time for our annual visit to the orphans we support from a displaced persons’ camp in...

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Newsletter – January, 2013

Dear Friend, The political situation in Burma has changed little. Under pressure from the international community and after comments by Aung San Suu Kyi, the government agreed to stop attacking the Kachin ethnic group—so they said. Reports from Kachin State are that...

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Newsletter – December, 2012

Chiang Mai, Thailand Dear Friend of Shan Refugees: “Premature euphoria.” That is the term Burma expert, Benedict Rogers, used at Chiang Mai University in speaking last week about international reaction to Burma’s recent conversion to a “democrary,” the freeing of Aung...

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Newsletter – October, 2012

Dear Friends of Shan Refugees: Things are changing fast in Burma. In November 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest (after being confined to her home and yard for 15 years); in the spring of 2012, she was elected to Burma’s Parliament. Since then, she...

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Newsletter – January, 2012

Two Months in Thailand This has been an exciting year, with Hillary Clinton’s visit to Aung San Suu Kyi (read more about the effects of Hillary’s visit at this link http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=22662); Suu Kyi saying she will run for the Burmese...

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Newsletter – October, 2011

Dear Friends of Shan Refugees: Here is an update on recent happenings in Shan State and Burma. Current news: Some prisoners, most of them criminals but some of them political, have been released. Not enough. Many people who simply questioned the government’s way of...

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Newsletter – August, 2011

Dear Friends of Shan Refugees: One of the lesser known outrages caused by the civil war in Burma is the number of ethnic people who have been driven from their homes by the government soldiers and are now living either in relocation camps or hiding in the jungle.  ...

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Newsletter – May, 2011

Dear Friends of Shan Refugees: I returned to Minnesota March 1 after an interesting and productive winter with Shan refugees from Burma who have escaped to Thailand. In November 2010, I wrote to you about the orphans we support, who had been described by their...

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Newsletter – June, 2010

  Dear Friends of Shan Refugees, Here is some good and bad news about Burma, Thailand, and Shan refugees, who are caught in the middle. New migrant registration laws in Thailand require refugees from Burma to be registered in both countries: Thailand and Burma. Many...

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Newsletter – January, 2010

Dear Friends of Shan Refugees, Here is an update on some of my time with Shan refugees in Thailand. 1. Pi Mok, a camp for construction workers, is the first school we started for Shan refugees. Twenty families had left for other construction sites the day I visited...

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