“Never Walk Alone” – Children’s Dormitory Matching Fund Apeal 2015-2016

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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.

Why Dormitories?
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.

 

2014-15 School Year has begun for 375 dormitory students!

The 2014-15 school year has begun and KWO’s 9 dormitories in 5 camps are up and running! For the 2014-15 school year, KWO has 375 students in the dormitory project. Here are some photos from Umphiem Mai and Mae La camps of the first day of school for dormitory students!

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KWO 2011 – 2012 Two Year Update

KWO is pleased to provide our 2011/12-update report including programs currently running in the community, challenges and successes, financial reports, KWO special activities and a Call to Action. One thing that remains true throughout KWO’s 28 years of service is our commitment to the Empowerment, Equality, and Freedom of all Karen women. Thank you to KWO staff, leaders, members, volunteers, community members, partner organizations and funders who help make KWO successful!

KWO 2011-2012 Two Year Update

A visit to one Karen Women Organization ( KWO ) supported dormitory in Karen State

A visit to one Karen Women Organization ( KWO ) supported dormitory in Karen State

In April 2012, I went with 5 KWO colleagues to Doo Tha Htu district in Karen State. Among other activities we also visited a student dormitory that has been supported for several years through KWO and individual friends. There are 30 students who live full time in that dormitory. During our visit we met with 21 of them (12 girls 9 boys). The other students had gone home to their villagers for the summer school holiday. The students were excited to see us and we were very happy to meet them as well. We sat in a circle at the dormitory carer’s house and we introduced ourselves. We asked the students why they had come to live in this dormitory.The students replied:

  • “There is only a small primary school in my village and I want to continue high school so I came and attend high school in this village. I have no relatives to stay with here so I stay in the dormitories.”
  • “The cost of study is too expensive, and my parents cannot support me and if I do not stay in the dormitory I could not continue my education.”
  • “Some villages where we come from are three hours walk one way. The distance is too far to walk every day so I stay in dormitory.”
  • “Some of us are orphans and we have no one to care for us and so we live in dormitory.”

We also wanted to find out what the students wanted to do when they finished school and what do they dream of. Most students replied:

  1. Teacher
  2. Nurse and Medic
  3. Captain/Commander
  4. Missionary
  5. Working with KWO
  6. Become government worker

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We also asked them to draw a picture of their dream village of how they would like to see their village one day. They had to think of what kind of development they wanted to see in their villages, they had to think about it and put it into drawing. We gave the students about half an hour and after that each student presented their drawing and explained it to the big group. We noticed in most of their drawings, something in common: We saw in most drawings, the Karen Flag hanging in front of the schools, and there were wells, toilets and good roads in their villages. These are important to them because currently in their villages, there are only few toilets and in the school there is only one toilet, it is for the teachers use. In their villages now in front of the school there is only the Burmese flag, so they would like to see the Karen flag instead of the Burmese one. There is very few or no well in their villages and most villagers use one river to get water and this river is used by both animals and people for bathing and drinking. During the raining season the river floods and there is lots of mud in the river and it is hard for them to drink.

For us from KWO, it was very satisfying to see these young people thinking of water and toilets as important and as essential things in their dream village. It was inspired too, to see Karen flag flying in front of their schools. The school in the village where the dormitory is only goes up to grade eight, not the end of high school. After that they will have to find another school if they want to finish high school. Many students from the village in Karen State have come to the refugee camps along the border to study until they finish high school and have lived in dormitories that KWO support. In the refugee camps, KWO supports currently 16 dormitories with over 600 students from Karen state.

This is our favorite moment to see all dormitory students drawing their ” Dream Village”.

As the school year starts again in May 2012, we are still looking for funding for this dormitory in this village. We rely solely on donations so some years, we do not have enough money to support them, and the KWO at village level has to borrow money to buy food for them. We have to thank Australia Karen Organization (AKO) Women Departments for contributing annually to this dormitory.  The dormitory students also do fund raising themselves. They sell snacks and have luck draws during any community events. They raise chickens to eat at the same time to sell them and buy other food and needs. In 2011 we provided some funding for their building and we were very pleased to see the newly built dorm, which was not completely, finished but was in good condition. We will continue to support this dormitory and continue looking for funding to support children having access to basic education. We would like to thank all individuals who donated money to KWO. We are able to provide support to these children because of your support. We hope you will continue to support us to fulfill the dream of these children.

Written by Naw K’nyaw Paw, Education Program Coordinator, Karen Women Organization (KWO)

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.

Dormitories

KWO has sought to ensure the best possible care for students who live in our dormitories.  We have created a manual of agreed upon  “Minimum Standards of Care” which includes what we as a community want and expect for our children.  We have conducted trainings for all carers in the various dormitories and the students to make sure everyone knows and fully understands what we expect.

Standards of Care Training