Thailand / Burma
The Karen are the most populous ethnic minority in Burma, inhabiting the eastern mountainous region of the country. Five decades of war and oppression have resulted in the flight of 100,000 Karen refugees, most of whom are now living in refugee camps in Thailand.
Record of Truth (RoT), a photography program, based on one of several Karen refugee camps along the border of Thailand, features a unique curriculum that utilizes photographic expression to encourage students to analyze their environment, document their lives and begin to preserve their oral and cultural traditions through visual documentation. These intimate testimonials reveal the daily realities of the Karen refugees and create an important archive during a time of instability and danger of losing their culture due to the high volume of resettlement.
In 2009, San Diego became home to many resettled Karen refugees. The AjA Project now works to connect Karen youth in San Diego with those living on the camps in order to provide a sense of connection and cultural continuity. In addition, Karen students in San Diego create photo documentaries that help youth in the camps learn what life in America might be like upon resettlement.