How to get involved

Our goal for our Ottawa activities is to support and empower Karen people in their transition to life in Canada. The Karen require extensive assistance and education to ensure their adjustment and integration into Canadian life due to years spent in conflict and poverty.

  • Education: Young Karen students attend school but their English needs extra support. Volunteers in Ottawa can provide support to children one on one or can also help during the Karen summer school. Also, their parents struggle understanding English and so can face difficulty in navigating their children’s participation in the school system. Volunteers in Ottawa can both help parents improve their English and can also accompany them to parent teacher interviews and other activities their children attend.
  • Health Care: Routine trips to health care professionals can be challenging without knowing English. Volunteers in Ottawa can help provide transportation and interpretation, which doesn’t involve knowing the Karen language but instead repeating more slowly and in plain language the direction of medical personnel.
  • Shopping, Banking, Budgeting: Shopping can initially be a mystery to the Karen: grocery stores, corner stores; price comparisons – all need explanation. Banking is a new concept: interest earned and paid; minimizing bank charges; bank cards versus tellers – all need explanation to help make the best use of their money. Volunteers assist in these areas.
  • Citizenship Classes: Many Karen have lived their lives without citizenship to any country. So achieving Canadian citizenship is a very exciting prospect. Volunteers in Ottawa help the Karen prepare for citizenship tests with one on one or group tutoring and can also provide help with applying to begin the citizenship process.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Kleo, please contact us. Thank you!