Lwepaw Nwe Kacher started working for HealthEast as a Karen Culture Broker, placed at KOM, in December 2017.
Get to know Lwepaw…
Born in Burma, Lwepaw had to move out of her home village when she was 7 years old to live on the Thai-Burma border. There she received her high school education and worked as a nurse for the Aide Medical International (AMI) for 5 years. After, she left for Bangkok to look for more education opportunities. She stayed there for 2 years before getting a scholarship as a Burmese refugee student (even though she is Karen) to come to the U.S. to study. Lwepaw first arrived in the U.S. in 1996 in Indiana to take English classes and then moved to San Francisco where she got her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts at San Francisco State University. She stayed near San Francisco for 20 years before moving to Minnesota in August of 2017 in order to work with the larger Karen community. Lwepaw began working for HealthEast, placed at KOM, as a Karen Culture Broker in December of 2017 and is looking forward to working directly for and with her Karen community.
Why did you decide you wanted to work with KOM?
I decided to work with KOM through HealthEast because I want to offer the community everything I can, everything I know and have learned from living here. I want to work directly with Karen people and use my language to connect them with the community.
What have you been doing since you started working with KOM?
I began with learning about what my role is, and then researching the resources that I can offer clients to make sure they will meet their needs. If they speak the language, then it is easy to refer them somewhere for additional support, but if they don’t, I want to make sure they will have interpreters and other things necessary for their case. As a Karen Culture Broker, I connect people to resources and I often work with social workers, healthcare providers, nurses, law enforcement, case managers and more. I work very closely with the Karen Chemical Dependency Collaborative.
What are you most looking forward to with your job with KOM?
My passion is to do outreach. Anytime a coworker asks me to be a guest speaker for their class or program, I am very excited. I want to get to know my community better and I want the community to get to know me. It is encouraging to be able to work and present using my own language, and to know that it is valued.