Education Program

The KWO Education Program aims to ensure that all sectors of the community are given equal access to education, and addresses the needs primarily of women and girls, many of whom have not been able to access formal education before.  This provides them with opportunities for development and empowerment, leading to greater participation in the decision-making areas of their community.

KWO hold ourselves accountable to the community at all times, be it at village, camp or town level, and believe it vital that the education program is implemented in a community-centred and culturally appropriate way.  This includes working with the community to raise awareness of the importance of and need for education, and creating and maintaining a flexible approach to this, including education through informal channels, so as to maximize the accessibility of the programs.  KWO also advocates on behalf of mainstream community-based projects with potential donors and arranges and facilitates introductions.

Apart from our involvement in a traditional capacity, KWO also works to identify and address specific education needs and to fill in the gaps left by existing educational programs within the community, such as pre-schooling for young children, supporting and educating unaccompanied children and youth in the camps, providing education opportunities for children with disabilities and creating literacy and non formal education activities for women and men in the community. We also advocate for methods and content that can be usefully applied to our indigenous lifestyle. With these purposes in mind, KWO designs a variety of education and training projects for people of different age groups and education levels. These projects include both short and long-term courses. KWO also works with other community leaders and maintains regular forums for discussion so that we can gather grass-roots feedback and problem-solve together.

Projects in the education program include Literacy and Non-Formal Education, Leadership schools, Pwo Karen Language classes, Nursery Schooling, Special Education and Unaccompanied Children programs, and an internship in KWO offices.

We see our KWO education program as one of the most important components in our community work, and an effective way of giving hope and inspiration, and raising the living standards of women and children.  It has successfully opened the eyes of the community to recognize and accept everyone’s Right to Education.

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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.