KOSD Staff

Nao Kabashima
Executive Director

Nao Kabashima is the co-founder and Executive Director of Karen Organization of San Diego (KOSD), a community based organization serving refugees from Burma resettled in San Diego. She is originally from Japan and first came to the U.S. as a graduate student. After she earned her Master’s degree in Political Science at California State University, Chico, in 2008, she began volunteering for the Refugee Resettlement Program at Jewish Family Service of San Diego in 2008 and met Karen and Karenni refugee families. In 2009, she co-founded KOSD with Karen community leaders to meet the urgent needs of refugees from Burma resettled in San Diego. She served as the Chair of the San Diego Refugee Forum in 2012-2013 and is currently serving the Partnership for Advancement of New Americans (PANA) as a Board Vice Chair.

Larkapor Moo
Community Program Manager

Larkapor was born in Burma and grew up surrounded by her home country’s beautiful mountains and vast farm fields. She finished her education in Burma in 1987. In 1988, Larkapor moved to a Karen refugee camp in Thailand. She taught both Karen and Karenni in refugee camps for over 20 years. In addition to teaching, Larkapor was also a principal, trainer and coordinator, working with the Karenni Women’s Study Program (KnWSP) through Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment (WEAVE). She came to the U.S. to resettle in San Diego in June 2010. In November 2010, Larkapor began to work with Jewish Family Service for its Family Strengthening Program as a trainer, giving Burmese and Karen community members the tools to orient themselves to U.S. culture. Larkapor began working as a case manager for the Karen Organization of San Diego in November 2011, and she now serves KOSD as Community Program Manager.  She is “so happy working with people.” She says, “I am happy [to] help community members and also I learn from them, too. KOSD is the best workplace for me.”

Hsihsa Thaw
Family Engagement Program Manage

Hsihsa Thaw joined the KOSD staff as a Case Worker in July 2012. She was born in Burma’s Karen State. She grew up in Thailand’s Umphiem refugee camp, where she worked for the community for 6 years. Hsihsa has been in the United States since December 2011, soaking up the San Diego sunshine. She “love[s] working for the refugee community of Burma,” she says, because its people are so close to her heart. Even though she is in a third country, she says she is “so glad to have a chance to work for the community.” She “feel[s] that the community needs [her]” and she “love[s] to give as much as she can” to them. Her dream is to go back to Karen state to serve, and share what she has learned in the United States.

April Moo
Youth Program Coordinator

April has been Youth Program Coordinator at KOSD since July of 2012. After growing up in a refugee camp on the Thailand-Burma border, she came to San Diego in 2007. She joined International Rescue Committee Peacemakers in 2009. The group, started by refugee high school students, gave April and her peers the opportunity to present at local high schools and colleges about life as a refugee in San Diego. April was the first Karen to graduate from San Diego City College in 2016 and one of the first to graduate from San Diego State University (SDSU) in 2018. She is also the first to pursue the Master’s of Social Work degree which she is currently completing at SDSU.

At KOSD office, April is grateful to be supporting displaced people from Burma including the Karen. She knows how tough it can be to adapt to life in the U.S. without English language skills. Having lived through such difficulty as a young person, she realized that many of the youth from Burma face similar challenges. Her experience and success have motivated her to empower the community’s youth as Youth Program Coordinator at KOSD.

Paw Ku
Community Program Assistant

Paw Ku came to San Diego from Mae La Refugee Camp in July of 2007. She joined KOSD in 2017. One of her first responsibilities included working on community stories. While interviewing and recording the elders, she learned a lot of new things and felt more connected. She loves working with the elders and helping her community. She now serves as Community Program Assistant for KOSD. 

Paw Lay
Culture Program Coordinator

Paw Lay was born in Mae La Refugee Camp in Thailand. Her parents decided to come to the United States in order to provide a better education and a brighter future for their children. In the summer of 2008, her family resettled in San Diego and Paw Lay started school at Ibarra Elementary shortly thereafter. She graduated from Crawford High School in 2018. In October 2017, Paw Lay started working for KOSD as Culture Program Coordinator. Her duties include working with the youth and the community, and planning for cultural event. Paw Lay is currently a student at San Diego State University majoring in Social Work. 

Mu Aye
Community Program Assistant

Shifa Mohammad Faizal
Community Program Assistant

Ler Wah Doh
Community Distribution Specialist

Promised Land
Community Distribution Specialist