Where are they now? Celebrating the success of graduate students.

We are thrilled to share the success of Jen’s House, through the achievements of our first post-secondary graduate students. Many of you have been long time supporters of Jen’s House, and it is thanks to you, that these young Karen adults are now able to stand up for their Karen people in Thailand, in ways that will truly make a difference.

We cannot change the lives of the Karen people as they struggle through the prejudices and challenges that keep many trapped in a cycle of poverty in Thailand. What we can do is provide educational opportunities to Karen youth that become a foundation for change. Change that allows this new generation to stand up, educated, compassionate, and proud to to say,

“We are Karen! We stand for our people!”

I am so proud to introduce you to our first group of post-secondary graduating students.

Suchada – Receiving her Nursing Aid Certficate with Jen’s House-parents Chai and Tamla 2016. Suchada would like to continue her studies and become a registered nurse, after a 1 year work placement at McCormick […]

By |November 29th, 2016||

The Fietz Bathrooms for Boys

I arrived at the Nong Tao Children’s Dormitory on February 23, 2016 to oversee the repair and construction of two new hong nams, (bathrooms). Eric Fietz, has once again donated funds which are being used to cover the cost of these two structures. It is a well known fact that when people live in prolonged poverty; the ability to maintain health and prevent disease are directly related to adequate sanitation facilities. Confronted with limited funds it is often an area which receives the least attention thus the continuing cause of many deaths in poor mountain communities that also do not have access and/or the means to adequate medical attention.

Last year Eric generously donated funds to improve sanitary conditions in Mae Ra Ma refugee camp. With his donation we were able to build a new bathing house for a group of female orphans between the ages of 14 to 17. The students have very little support as they are not registered with the United Nations and therefore are not entitled to the rations others receive. We were also […]

By |October 3rd, 2016||

KLEO on CBC Radio’s Tapestry

Listen 16:31

The reality of long-term refugee settlement — tips for sponsors
For the past decade, Coleen Scott has helped Karen refugees make a new home in Canada. The Karen are the largest ethnic minority in Myanmar and they’ve been part of the longest ongoing civil war in modern times.

Coleen Scott is the founder of KLEO (Karen Learning and Education Opportunities).
Scott spends five months of the year in northwestern Thailand. She volunteers in refugee camps and works with parents, teachers, and students in schools in remote Karen mountain villages. The rest of the year, she can be found working alongside the Karen families she has helped settle in Ottawa. She’s worked with dozens of families over the past decade.

Scott is the founder of the Ottawa-based organization KLEO (Karen Learning and Education Opportunities).

She has learned a great deal about what it takes to successfully support refugees as they adapt to their new country.

Here are Coleen Scott’s tips for anyone sponsoring – or thinking of sponsoring – a newcomer to Canada.

Be patient, it takes time

“If supporters and […]

By |October 3rd, 2016||

KLEO Book Sale 2016

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Through Education 

Help us keep Ethnic Karen Students in School in Their Homeland
$1,200.00 a year keeps one Karen student in High School in Thailand – including food, accommodation, uniform, books, school supplies with loving house-parents.
Annual Book Sale
Sorted by categories and alphabetized
Dovercourt Recreation Centre
411 Dovercourt Ave. Ottawa, Ontario
Sat. Sept. 24 – 9:00 – 3:30
Sun. Sept. 25 – 10:00 – 3:00

visit us on Facebook – KLEO Ottawa
www.kleosupportgroup.org – Events

By |September 8th, 2016||

Where Are They Now? Sao Come

Some years ago I wrote an article about Sao Come. Call it fate, but a lottery changed his plans. However, not in the way you might expect.



2010 – From Jen’s House-mother, Tamla

“Unfortunately there is bad news about one of the boys, Sao Come is in the hospital and it looks like he will be there for anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. He has septic arthritis in the knee.”

To understand the seriousness of this diagnosis, the following is an email response I received from a Dr. in Ottawa. “If the child has septic arthritis this means he has a bacterial infection within the knee joint. Usually the child would be sick with a fever and might appear quite ill with this diagnosis. The treatment would be long term antibiotics perhaps infused directly into the joint as well as orally or IV.  The synovial fluid should be cultured to see what organism is causing the infection and to what antibiotic the bacteria is susceptible. This is a serious infection that could lead to destruction of the joint if it is acute. If […]

By |April 16th, 2016|Tags: |

International Women’s Day – Nut’s Story

Nut’s Thai name is Nutchakan Ubomo, thus the nickname she has carried since childhood. Fortunately in Karen and Thai her name translates into the sound of Nhut.  She is Jen’s house-parents niece and she needs our help. Nut is seventeen years old.

Nut spent three years at Jen’s House. After graduation from middle school she decided that she wanted to go to a high school that would prepare her to continue on to nursing. Many high schools in Thailand focus on students individual interests and generally are connected to a college or university. This translates into a guaranteed placement for successful students at the associate college or university upon graduation of high school. Jen’s house supports only those students who continue on to San Patong High School as we know it is well recognized for providing a high level of education.

It was not an easy decision for the family to make as it meant that the increased costs for schooling would be their sole responsibility. However, as families do, they pulled together to cover the 8,000 Baht (300.00 Cdn.) school fees, […]

By |March 6th, 2016||

International Women’s Day – Nikki’s Story

Start this years, 2016 International Women’s Day with a donation to help empower Nikki!                                                          
Nikki is from the village of Mah Wah Khee, essentially the birthplace of the KLEO organization. Nikki has lived at Jen’s House for the past six years and will graduate this March, 2016, from San Patong High School. In this first photo Nikki is standing next to me. The picture was taken when I was in Maw Wah Khee meeting with some of the parents who wanted their children to live at Jen’s House and study in Thung Siao. You can see by her infectious smile that she was thrilled at the possibility. Her Thai name is Sudaporn Niyoumpainiwet but we all still call her Nikki.

Nikki, (center) was one of the students who went on the tour to Payup University in February and has been excited about the possibilities that were opened up to her. She […]

By |March 6th, 2016||

Amazing People & Possibilities at Payup International College!

On Tuesday morning, February 16 Jen’s House students received a warm welcome, a tour and a presentation at Payup International College. The tour was led by the Head of International Campus Life, Melissa Stroud. Our English/Karen translator and Payup student, Wijit Wongboboon,  joined us as well and shared his own story with us at the end of the tour. The International College campus is the English Studies wing of Payup University.


Ingi’s connections in Chiang mai led to this unique opportunity for our students and they had been looking forward to it for weeks. It was the first time these, Jen’s House students, have been in a university environment and their excitement was evident when Ingi and I arrived at Payup to meet them. They didn’t know what to expect but were quickly put at ease by our tour guides. I know they were very happy to be able to communicate in their own language with Wijit, and to understand everything that was being shared. A full tour included computer labs, a class in progress, the Northern Tribe museum […]

By |March 4th, 2016||

Everlasting Memories!

On December 26, 2015 Jen’s House family gathered in the Karen Town of Nong Tao, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. We came together to share and celebrate the success of a collective effort;  that is to provide opportunities for education for ethnic mountain children. Much to my surprise it was also a celebration of my birthday!

Everyone enjoyed the great food and rolled away from the table to relax just as dusk was falling.





Tamla welcomed everyone and offered her thanks for their contribution she mentioned that I would say a few words a little later. During her introduction she talked about the Jen’s House family and how happy we were be together, including Jen’s House grandchildren.

After some songs and dance she called for me to come forward. Little did I realize that my getting up to speak was to be the cue to an amazing surprise.

As I stepped up to the microphone everything went black and silent. It didn’t surprise me as it’s normal for the power to be dodgy at the best of times in Nong Toa. But, what happened next certainly […]

By |February 13th, 2016|Tags: , |

Jen’s House 7th Anniversary Celebration – Let the Games Begin!

While the “piggy gang” had been gone a couple more of our students showed up. I was especially happy to see Weera. He will graduate with a degree in Political Science this April and was a sight for sore eyes. After an affectionate greeting we sat down to talk a little. Weera plans to return to his community in Mae Hong Song and get in on the ground floor of a government position. His goal is to eventually represent his area in social, environmental and policy decision making. Weera’s exterior is that of  kind, gentle soul, which he is. However, one should not mistake this demeanour. His deep, inner determination, and analytical, methodical ways will make a difference.



The students were ready for fun and games! Pranee, Sukanya and Malee stepped up to share the master of ceremony post. With Chai’s help they had organized a full karaoke set-up while we were gone. And, with microphone in hand they were sharing their vocal abilities with the village. Belting out their favourite pop songs they shared some English and some Thai […]

By |February 11th, 2016||