For one dollar a day Every child is entitled to an education and to live as full a life as possible. Refugee children with, or without, disabilities deserve the same. Indigenous Karen people from Burma have lived as refugees in camps in Thailand for a long time. We formed the Karen Women’s Organization to strengthen and serve our community. There were no Special Education services in our homeland, nor in the refugee camps. Children with disability were at home, often sitting in a dark corner, and their parents had no support. So we organized ourselves and built a project to provide services and support to children with special needs. We trained refugee women to work with our disabled children and to support parents. We raised money. And we have changed lives. Tragically, our financial support has been severely reduced as other refugee crises have pulled resources.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, individual sponsors and support from the community, KWO was able to continue the Special Education Project successfully throughout the 2016-17 school year. We thank you for your encouragement and assistance. We are looking forward to the new year and hope you all stay with us!
On the 22nd of September a team of KWO Central leaders and staff conducted a monitoring trip to the Mu Traw District nursery schools located in Noh Paw Htee and Ken Daw villages supported by KWO. The team met with teachers and local KWO leaders responsible for the schools, observed schools in operation with teachers teaching, classroom management, student lunches and hygiene. They also observed the use of teaching aids and other project related activities like student. profiles and attendance lists.
Please see some pictures below;
29 people from different Karen CBOs, Karen Office of Relief and Development (KORD), Karen Legal Aids Centre (KLAC), Karen Teachers Working Group (KTWG) and KWO attended this 2 month long special course. KWO is very proud of all of the 19 of the KWO senior staff who completed it. Congratulations to you all!
We want to thank the three instructors: Thara Harry Wah, Thara William Poe and Tharamu Cha Ku for their time and effort that made these two months possible.
We would also like to thank both the IRC/PLE Program and Payap University for creating this kind of opportunity for community based organisations. We are proud of all 29 graduates and look forward to seeing their contributions to our community applying what they have learned from the course.
Finally we would like to take this opportunity to thank USAID for supporting this program.
Saw Moo Ler Poe is 6 years old and lives in Umpiem refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border. In 2011 he was suffering from severe malnutrition and multiple disabilities, including speech and developmental problems. That year he enrolled in the KWO Special Education project. When he first came to us, he couldn’t turn his body or move around and resisted joining in the activities with his Special Education (SE) teacher and other children. Like many teachers around the world, the KWO teacher didn’t give up. She continued to work with him during home visits and specially designed play sessions. These changed his life. In 2014 he began coming to small group learning sessions at the Special Education Centre everyday. Now he joins activities with other children, can walk, eat, drink, and clean himself. He likes to sing, dance, and come to school every day. During story time he pays attention, looking at the pictures as he listens to the story. Saw Moo Ler Poe loves to color in and do other art. His speech is still limited but he uses facial expressions and gestures to communicate with the teachers and other people. He’s one story among many of the big difference this program is making in people’s lives.
The KWO Special Education project also works with parents to help them support their children. Saw Moo Ler Poe’s parents tell us all the time what a difference the project has made. They use the activities the SE teacher has shown them and it’s meant they have to spend less time taking care of him. Just the fact that he can eat by himself and wash up has made everything easier and better for him and them.
Saw Moo Ler Poe’s parents told us, “We used to have to take him to the doctor every month at least, but now he is much healthier. He’s developed so much. We are very grateful for all the support”
We are in desperate need of funding for this project for the coming year. If you can give please do.
The Karen Women’s Organization held a Special Education Project, Training of Trainers from January, 12, 2015 to Feb, 11, 2015. Teachers, school directors and trainers from 7 camps attended. We also invited nursery school staff from Karen State for the 3rd week and 4th week, because some of the training topics related to any nursery school so were helpful to them. Continue reading
Dormitory Students at Work
“Never Walk Alone”
Children’s Dormitory Matching Fund appeal 2015/16
A Unique Fundraising Opportunity for Karen Children and Young People in 2015
KWO has been offered a very unique matching fund opportunity by one of our dedicated donors and we are excited to share the news with our KWO friends, family and supporters. The matching fund from DAK Foundation is ring-fenced especially for our “Children and Young People Dormitory Project”. This means in simple terms that every donation from you will be doubled by DAK-F. A very positive start to 2015 already!
Your donation will go a long way to help dormitory students. A donation of just $40 USD will buy a student soap, toothpaste, and other hygeine supplies for 6 months. A donation of just $60 USD will buy 11 students warm clothing for the cold season here. Just follow this link to make a contribution.
What are the Children’s Dormitories?
KWO has been supporting children in dormitories for many years. We are currently responsible for 8 dormitories housing 292 students in five refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. The 8 dormitories with 14 buildings provide a safe and caring environment for separated children from Karen State (in Burma) who travel to study in the refugee camps.
The project is quite unique to match the unique circumstances along the border during this transitional but still very uncertain time in Burma. There are good quality schools in the camps, where children and young people can be schooled in all subjects including Karen (their mother tongue), Burmese and English. The refugee camp schools offer a great opportunity for these children. Some children are housed by family members but many find themselves without shelter. KWO provides this shelter and in doing so offers these children an opportunity to access education at a very important time in the Karen community’s development.
The Matching Fund from DAK Foundation
KWO has been offered a total of $50,000USD for the 2015-16 Dormitory Project year as a Matching Grant from our donor DAK Foundation.
What does that mean?
This means that DAK-F will double every donation we receive from you. If you donate $20 USD for example then the foundation will add $20 and KWO will receive $40 for the Dormitory Project. $10 will become $20 and $100 will become $200. If we raise a total of $45,000 then DAK-F will make it $90,000 USD. This is a great opportunity and we would love you to join us!
Never Walk Alone – Matching Fund appeal – February and March 2015
We are determined to succeed in our challenge to raise the funds for this project. So we are starting off with a TARGET to raise $15,000 from you by 31st March 2015. Please join us in helping to make this appeal a great success. All donations will be welcome from $5 to $50 to $500.
YOUR SUPPORT and next steps:
We invite YOU to make a donation via our website for the Never Walk Alone appeal. Our aim is to raise $15,000 by 31st March 2015 from your donations and this will be doubled to $30,000. We will give you regular updates on our Karen Women Organization Facebook Page:
• KWO will share personal stories from children in the dormitories. Some of the children and young people have been interviewed and we will introduce you to them. You will learn more about their life and the importance of the dormitories this way.
• KWO will keep you updated on our fundraising progress as we inch towards $15,000. Our deadline for this total is 31st March 2015.
In September 2014, KWO’s Special Education students, staff and families celebrated International Deaf Day. We worked together to raise awareness, to show our abilities and to educate our communities about living with deafness. These events took place in all seven camps. Activities included action songs, dramas, role-plays and using Karen Deaf Sign Language to communicate with the audience.
The Special Education Students participated in competitions (songs, drawing photos, paper folding art, matching memory games, and writing games) with other organizations in the camps to build relationships. The SE Teachers took part in the activities with students, and conducted quizzes to challenge community knowledge about disability. Community leaders also gave speeches to the students, parents and community members.
The Deaf students especially enjoyed the opportunity to teach community members how to use Karen Sign Language: words for fruit, days of the week, animals, and clothing were practiced by hundreds of people. This event was an opportunity for “the quiet people” to increase awareness about deafness.