Special Education

The Special Education Project has 4 main components –  Early Intervention with young children with disability (home visits and learning centre), Inclusive Education (up to Standard 2 in mainstream schools, SE centres and home visits), School for students with hearing impairments  School for students with visual impairments.

All of the children in the SE project are provided with a packet of milk twice a week to improve nutrition, and the Deaf and Blind students each receive daily supplementary food during school hours. KWO also distribute quarterly hygiene packs to children with disabilities. Two play sessions are run at each SE Centre each week for groups of children in the Early Intervention program and their parents. Depending on how big the SE group is in the camp, each child attended once or twice a week.

Inclusion of students into mainstream schools: One of the aims of the SE project was to reintegrate students from the SE program into mainstream school, where this was possible. In seven camps  KWO organised six workshops in 2009 and eight workshops in 2010, with community members, teachers, school principals and representatives of other NGOs and CBOs, to build an understanding of how to support children with learning difficulties without sending them to separate SE classes.

Teacher training & staff development: SE teachers in each camp are provided with regular training provided by camp-based trainers, guest trainers or town-based project staff. Most training sessions last at least 2 days. Training topics included the types and causes of disability, how to prevent disability, autism, Down syndrome, how to help children with disabilities learn and writing lesson plans. As well as this, KWO SE Trainers provided sessions of training for other community trainers that examine child behaviour and inclusive education.

Karen Deaf Sign Language standardisation: In 2009, KWO began more intensive work to record the Karen sign language, so that a standard language can be learnt, and deaf Karen people can all learn the same signs and develop and share new signs. In 2009, with the assistance of a trainer from World Education, KWO created 5 volumes of Karen Deaf Sign Language DVDs which are used in all the camps.

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About Karen Women Organisation

The Karen Women Organisation was formed in 1949 and has a membership of over 64,100 women. KWO is a community-based organisation of Karen women working in development and relief in the refugee camps on the Thai border and with IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and women inside Burma. Since our formation in 1949 we have expanded our focus from one of purely social welfare to try to encourage an awareness of Women's Rights and to promote women’s participation in the community decision making and political processes. The objectives of the KWO  To assist women in the endeavour to be free from all forms of oppression.  To promote and empower women in all spheres of life, including education and general living standards.  To encourage women to participate in the struggle for freedom, democracy and equality.  To develop women's knowledge, ability and skills, including political and organizational skills.  To achieve the rights of women and equal status with men.  To promote and maintain Karen culture and traditions.  To improve the well-being of women and children and to increase their access to adequate health, education and welfare services. KWO aims to empower women through offering various capacity building trainings to teach skills, build confidence and create new opportunities so that women will be better able to solve problems. We are working hard to educate ourselves and our communities so that we can work more effectively and advocate for our struggle on the international stage. We believe that women’s contribution is an essential factor in the peace-building and national reconciliation processes of Burma.