KWO Social Welfare Program provides services, advocacy and capacity building in all sectors of Karen society. We provide direct care and assistance to community members and we work to solve social problems in our community, particularly those that affect women. Due to the failure of Burma’s successive governments to provide care and security for the people, many ethnic groups, like the Karen, have established well-organised and high-functioning social systems. The KWO Social Welfare Program does a lot of the work that a free and democratic national government would normally be offering to the people.
Our Social Welfare Program Co-ordinators are all Karen women and live in their community. Their duties include: identifying and providing care to the most vulnerable members of the community including the elderly, people with disability or chronic illness, and families in trouble; help to organize community events and ceremonies; home visits; build capacity and opportunity for women to earn income especially through traditional crafts; be advocates for the best interests of women in justice cases; fight for improvements in laws relating to women and child protection, justice system reform and better enforcement mechanisms both in the refugee camps and within Southeast Burma.
Overall our Program’s main area of focus is to prevent, and respond to Violence Against Women. Under the Social Welfare Program, and its funded project, we provide an enormous amount of training for women, for KWO leaders and staff, for local community leaders, and for the broader community. We currently implement one funded project under this program.