Nay ’23 belongs to the Karen (Ka Rehn) community of Burma. He was 7 when his mother relocated to the United States with his two brothers, fleeing military persecution.

Federal agencies resettled his family to Louisville, and Kentucky Refugee Ministries was entrusted with helping Nay’s family transition to their new life. The Kentucky Refugee Ministries provided them with translators, helped them apply for federal aid and ensured they had enough food in the fridge.

Since then, Nay has prioritized getting a quality education. His ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher recognized his potential and helped propel Nay into excellent schools with scholarships.

Nay leads by example. His younger brother, Ehku, is a sophomore at Berea. He follows in Nay’s footsteps, attending the same schools Nay did.

As Nay transitions to his auditing career at Barnes Dennig in Cincinnati, Ohio, he hopes to reclaim the culture and language he lost as he adjusted to American culture.

“Berea has definitely helped me value my culture more. Because here, I’m seeing everybody else in their culture. There is beauty in how everybody’s culture brings a different value and different ways of thinking. That makes humanity brighter,” Nay said.

With the assistance Nay remembers receiving from the Kentucky Refugee Ministries as a child, it was a full-circle moment for him to photograph fellow alumna and current Kentucky Refugee Ministries manager Adrienne Eisenmenger ’05 during for an article about her work with refugees.

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