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First Karen refugee students sit exams in Ballina

First Karen refugee students sit  Junior Cert exams in Ballina

THE first Karen refugee students to sit Irish state examinations celebrated success in Mary’s Secondary School, Ballina last week.
The three students, Ta Si Si, Ta Naw and Chit May Noe, celebrated passing their Junior Certificates in what was a significant milestone for both the students and the school. 
Principal, Mrs Patsy Sweeney congratulated the students, saying: “St Mary’s Secondary School has honoured it’s proud tradition of academic excellence once again as it celebrated another set of wonderful Junior Certificate Results. We are delighted that the Karen students are celebrating their personal milestone of their first State exams here at the school and very proud to be part of their journey.”
The students Ta Si and Ta Naw, daughters of Mr and Mrs Kyan Khaing of the Commons and Chit Mao Noe daughter of Mr and Mrs Loo May of Friars Court, are currently participating in the school’s award-winning Transition Year programme and are preparing for continued successes ahead.
The Karen in Mayo came to Ireland at the end of 2007.   The largest ethnic minority group in Burma, they have been in conflict with the Burmese military since Burma gained independence from Britain in 1946.  programme which it undertakes in conjunction with the UNHCR. The programme is co-ordinated nationally by the Office of the Minister for Integration (OMI).  The Karen have been warmly received by the Mayo people and many friendships have been formed over the past number of years.