KWO established the Karen Young Women’s Leadership School (KYWLS) in 2001. KYWLS targets young women who are interested in working for organizations, including 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.
We believe to be leaders young women need to learn about women’s rights, democracy, the international context of the Karen people, human rights, running projects, basic office management skills, public speaking, advocacy and many related topics. The school covers all of these subjects during this project year and exposes the young women to a wide variety of community situations and organizations in order to help them understand the many things happening in our community.
We teach traditional Karen skills including weaving and sewing in addition to typing and other skills. The students learn the basics of program planning, implementation and evaluation in order to prepare them to work for Karen community organizations. We invite guests and teachers from a broad range of backgrounds, and district or community leaders, to meet with and make presentations to the students in the school. The day to day school is conducted by one full time teacher and one life skills teacher.
The school operates in Karen State and 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.
Please click the below for a video that introduces KYWLS:
KWO is an ethnic women’s community-based organization that empowers women so they have capacity and power to solve their own problems and participate in decision-making that will affect their lives.
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