Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Refugee school destroyed by fire holds graduation ceremony

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A graduation ceremony of the Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Bible School and College (KKBBSC) in the Mae La Refugee Camp in Thailand, which was destroyed by fire one year ago, was held recently.

The school was gutted on April 28, 2012, but was partially rebuilt in time for the start of the new school year in July. The Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) donated half the funds toward the rebuilding of the school.

“The building is completed, the students also completed their school and yesterday we celebrated the dedication of the building to God,” Saw Simon, founder and principal of the school, wrote on April 15. “I would like to say thank you very much to all of you [for] your visits, your letters, your email, your encouragement, your donations and your prayers.”

KKBBSC offers general education to refugees and training to church leaders. Simon, the recipient of the 2000 BWA Human Rights Award, said 58 students graduated. The school, he said, had an enrollment of 420 students for the 2012-2013 school year. Approximately 3,000 persons, most of whom are affiliated with the Kaw Thoo Lei Karen Baptist Churches, a group of Baptist churches founded in the refugee camps, attended the graduation and dedication ceremony.

The April 14 graduation ceremony was the 29th graduation exercise of the school.

The Mae La camp, where the school is located, has an estimated 50,000 displaced persons. It is one of the largest of several refugee camps for displaced persons from Myanmar who fled conflicts in the South Asian country.

Simon and his family fled across the Thai border after the school, which was originally located in Rangoon (Yangon), the former capital of Myanmar, was destroyed. He later restarted it in the Mae La camp in 1984.

Baptist World Alliance®
© April 19, 2013

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 253 conventions and unions in 130 countries and territories comprising 51 million baptized believers in 176,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.