Special Education and Community Awareness

KWO is always seeking  to raise the awareness of parents and the community on issues surrounding disability and children.  We have published a number of booklets covering the causes of disability, possible prevention some of the causes of disability (e.g. adequate nutrition), and how to support a person with disabilities

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KWO runs community education workshops to raise awareness about disabilities once a month in every camp. Each session runs for half a day, and was facilitated by the Special Education trainers, the school director, or guest trainers from other organisations in the camp. The sessions cover issues such as child rights, supporting children with disabilities, inclusive education, nutrition and hygiene. They are attended by parents of disabled children, neighbours, carers, other parents, mainstream school teachers and community leaders. A total of 1,875 participants took part in 2009, and 2,938 in 2010.

In the community and among parents many believe that having a child with a disability is caused by past sins of the parents, or misbehaviour in a past life, and it is a punishment. So the families are looked down on. And they themselves feel inferior. Now they learn that disability is caused by illness or malnutrition and not from parents’ behaviour. Parents feel better, and the community members understand their mistaken belief.” (Special Education Committee Member)

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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.