The Special Education (SE) project directly benefits some of the most vulnerable members of our community. This project supports disabled children’s educational and personal development either in schools or at home, and is crafted to meet each child’s particular needs. The project also assists parents to identify good childcare practices to ensure they are looking after their children as best they are able. Additionally, KWO delivers awareness raising to the community with information on the rights of children with disabilities, the imperative to increase access to education for these children and the importance of facilitating their participation in community life. This KWO project is the only one of its kind in the refugee camps and in Karen State providing assistance to children with disabilities and their families.
KWO implements the Special Education Project in 7 Karen refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border (Mae Ra Ma Laung, Mae La Oon, Mae La, Umpiem Mai, Nu Po, Htam Hin, Ban Dong Yang), one IDP camp in Karen State (Ee HTu Hta), and in 3 districts of Karen State (Mu Traw, Doo Playa, and Doo The Htoo). The project is well-established in the 7 refugee camps and we run a full program at these locations. As we expanded in to Karen State in 2016, the project there is still developing, and we do not run all components of the program in these locations. Our intention is to assess needs at these sites and add activities sustainably over time. We anticipate that in the coming year the KWO Special Education Project will provide support to 743 children (340 girls and 403 boys).
The KWO Special Education (SE) Project was established in the 2 northern Karen refugee camps in 2003 and expanded to the 5 southern Karen in 2007 when World Education Consortium handed their SE program over to us. Since that time KWO has worked to standardize and develop all project activities across all 7 camps. In January 2008 we received secure funding from Terres des Hommes – Netherlands (TdH-NL) and Planet Wheeler Foundation (PWF) Australia, and as a result were able to to strengthen the quality of the services in this project. A variety of international donors have provided funding for this project in recent years. In 2015 we expanded the project into Karen State, at Ee Htu Hta, a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs). In 2016 we expanded further into 3 more Districts in Karen State, but we do not implement full activities there yet. Each year we face funding shortages which impact the scope and quality of services we are able to offer. KWO continues to seek new donors for this project.
In 2019-20, unfortunately, we expect further cuts in assistance from all NGOs, including the main provider of assistance to the refugee community, TBC. This affects food rations, the provision of building materials, education services, and health service providers. In addition, there is an increasing scarcity of materials available for us to purchase at a local level. All of these elements will translate into higher costs for the community to bear in all community projects and as we expect community groups and individuals will not be able to locate new funding, then services and quality of services will decrease.
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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