Unaccompanied Children and Dormitories project

The ongoing conflict in Burma has restricted the healthy development of the education system and left many children orphaned, or with only one parent. Many families are forced to send their children away from home to find safety and continue their studies uninterrupted. KWO operates dormitories in 5 of the refugee camps and in 2 IDP areas, to provide a safe and caring environment for separated children coming from Karen State for educational purposes. This project has been run since 1999.

In 2011 KWO ran 15 dormitories in 5 refugee camps and 2 dormitories in 2 districts inside Karen State.

For each of the children and youth in the dormitories, KWO provided emotional and material support, housing, clothing and extra food, as well as assistance with study needs. KWO provides students with hygiene packages, warm clothes, bed mats, blankets, mosquito nets, and supplementary fresh fruit, vegetables and meat to add to the basic camp rations diet which are provided by TBBC. KWO paid the small school fees each year so that the students can attend school. Each KWO dormitory has at least one full-time adult carer.

Dormitory staff work in accordance with the ‘Standards of Care for Dormitories’, a document developed by KWO with children and community leaders through a participatory process in 2008.

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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.