Burma is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world including eight main ethnic groups and more than 130 distinctive subgroups. However, today about half a million refugees are forced to live in neighboring and nearby countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, India, and Malaysia. Some have been in the refugee camps for more than 20 years.
To date, the United States has resettled nearly 70,000 refugees from Burma including Karen, Karenni, Chin, Kachin, Shan, Mon, and Burmese. The number of refugees from Burma has dramatically increased since 2007. In 2010, out of 73,000 total refugees admitted to the U.S., about 22% were refugees from Burma. Accordingly, the number of those who resettled in San Diego has also kept increasing; to date, more than 1200 refugees from Burma have resettled in San Diego.
The Karen Organization of San Diego was established in 2009 to meet the needs of Karen and other ethnic minority groups from Burma who reside in San Diego. Karen Organization of San Diego is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our primary purpose is to provide social services and opportunities for culture preservation for the Karen and other ethnic minority groups from Burma who reside in San Diego to improve their quality of life.