Karen Young Women’s Leadership School (KYWLS)

Karen Young Women’s Leadership School (KYWLS)

Goal: To empower young women to realize their potential leadership ability and move towards women’s participation as equal partners with men in decision-making at a community level.

Young Women's Leadership School Field Trip

KWO established the KYWLS in 2001. KYWLS targets young women who are interested in working for organizations, especially the KWO, in their communities to provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to do so. The KYWLS has helped to educate women to fill the gaps left in many organizations as a result of resettlement to third countries.

The school is run for 13 months from May in one year to June the following year. Students are between 18 and 30 years old and come from the 7 refugee camps and 7 districts of Karen State.

Almost all KYWLS graduates now work in organisations in their communities, usually the KWO, but in other CBOs also. Many have been elected as district or camp standing committee members of KWO, and some as the vice chair, secretary, joint secretary or auditor and treasurer in their respective camps or districts which is an outstanding recognition of the capacity of young women.

Young Women's Leadership School in the classroom

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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.