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.
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;
KWO runs nursery schools in 2 refugee camps on Thailand and in partnership with more than 70 villages in Karen State. This past week, October 2014, the Nursery Schools in Mae La Oon and Mae Ra Moe refugee camps held a competition about the story of Karen Culture. Here are some pictures from the events in each camp
The nursery schools also are continuing their normal curriculum for the year
KWO’s nursery schools in Karen State are also continuing to provide quality curriculum, nutrition, teacher training, and support for families, despite a severe shortfall in funding. If you can help support these schools please donate using the donate button on this website in the upper left.
In August 2013 we conducted a one week basic Montessori Training workshop for Special Education and Nursery School Project senior staff and trainer. The training covered the Montessori method and principles. During the workshop participants also went to a Thai private primary school (Tan Tip) and The Christian Center for the Development of People with Disabilities.
In September and again in October senior staff conducted a two week basic Montessori training to all teachers in all 7 Karen camps. There was also a follow up training, and monitoring in Nu Poe, Umpiem , Ma La, Mae Ra Ma Luang and Mae La Oo camps.
KWO implemented Montesori teaching methods in its special education project this year. These trainings are part of our ongoing efforts to improve and develop our work and services.
Also in August we conducted one week workshop covering our Deaf Curriculum. There were about 15 participants, a trainer, deaf students and KWO project staff.
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!
The Children in Nursery Schools in Karen State in Burma need your help. Education is important for people all over the world and Karen communities in Burma work hard to ensure education for their young children, despite long-standing abuses by the Burmese army. In Burma, education is woefully underfunded. The average length of schooling is just four years. In areas that are dominated by ethnic minorities the average education level is lower and the poverty higher. However, the Karen people have demonstrated a huge commitment to the children’s education, knowing that a good education will help pave the path to a better future for their children.
Karen communities work together to gather building materials, construct schools, and volunteer to run schools so that young children have a safe, fun learning environment. This shows the incredible commitment to education that these communities have in the face of hardship. Continue reading
We are half way through the school year here and KWO is supporting 73 village nursery schools spread across 5 areas in Karen State, Burma. Many of these students have been displaced by the Burmese military and the long standing civil war. We are so pleased that this year we have been able to support these schools serving over 3000 Karen children.
The Burmese education system has been terribly underfunded. A large portion of the Burmese government treasury goes to the military despite the fact that we have no external enemies. This means parents must pay for their children to attend in the poorest country in South East Asia. The average level of education in Burma is just 4 years. For areas dominated by ethnic minorities the education level is lower and poverty higher.
This makes our Nursery School project even more important. Each community builds and maintains their own bamboo or wooden school and forms a nursery school committee to support it and the teacher. Through a grant from Dave and Kerry Rickards we are able to provide training, a small stipend to the teachers along with some materials and supplies. Through private donations we provide lunch. We still haven’t raised all the money we need to feed all 3000 students through the end of the year, but we are happy to have been able to do it so far. We continue to apply for additional funding to fill the gaps. We have so far raised about 60% of the overall budget including the food. Just $25 feeds one child lunch for the school year.
One 5 year old student spoke the simple truth when he said, “I am happy to go to nursery school because of every day I get snack, lunch, and food. I have a lot of friends in school and we play together. If I did not go to nursery school I would go with my parents to the field. The field it is not fun for me. In the past when I went with my parents to the field, the insects bit my body. My body got a wound. It itched so much! If I finish nursery school I will go to primary school.”
A parent in Noe Poe Htee Moo Hta said, “Because we send our children to nursery school our children look so healthy and fresh, not like before, because they eat, sleep and play regularly. They are growing up quicker than before. If we compare two children’s condition the first one going to nursery school and the second one not, we can see the difference.” A parent in Do Tha Htu district said, “Because of the nursery school we work in our field free all day from worry. When we send our children to nursery school we get two advantages. First, we go to the field to work not worrying that our children will fall down, swim in the stream, climb the trees, eat unclean foods or get hurt by someone else. Secondly, we see that their condition is better than before. They can read and write the Karen, English, and Burmese alphabet. It is a basic thing they need to go to the primary school. They can sing songs and dance. They have confidence. If someone asks them to stand in front of people and sing, they can do it, they are not afraid anything.”
We want all our children to have confidence and not be afraid of anything.
The children in our Nursery Schools in Karen State in Burma need your help. We know that education is important for people all over the world, especially education of young children. Despite the long standing abuse by the Burmese military Karen communities across Karen State join together to build and support nursery schools for their children. They gather building materials, construct the school, bring fire wood and other things they can find to help. There is a community committee of volunteers who run the school. These schools work amid fighting and commonly must relocate to avoid the fighting.
KWO, Karen Women Organisation, has always tried to support the schools with money we raise through grants. Through the generosity of the Dave and Kerry Rickards we have been able to support many children and schools. We pay small stipends for each teacher, about $17 US dollars a month. We provide training to the teachers, school supplies, basic hygiene supplies for the children.
Unfortunately, KWO has not been able to raise enough money to supply lunch food to the students. The 3000 students enrolled in these community schools do not always get enough food at home. For just $25 we can provide an entire school year of supplemental lunch food to one student. This will let them get the nutrition they need since many families have been separated from their land by the war. The Karen community has been disrupted and abused by years under the dictatorship in Burma. We hope by supporting these students we are building our future, but we need your help.
Please click here to DONATE the much needed funds to feed these young students.