KWO Central completed a successful Community Organizing trip between 22nd March and 9th April 2015 to the three districts in Karen State. KWO Central divided into two small groups including KWO Executive Committee members, Central Standing Committee members, Project Management Team members and some other KWO staff members. The two groups went to Kler Lwee Htu, Taw Oo and Hpa An districts. They met with more than 1,500 people within the Karen community to discuss and share information about the work of KWO and the Peace Process. It was also a chance to learn more about the local current situation. KWO Central team were pleased to meet with different local and community leaders. We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to all of the township leaders, district leaders, district KWO members and responsible people who assisted our teams during these trips. We very much appreciate all their hard work. Community Organizing trips are an important part of KWO’s work as they help the Central staff and committee members to connect with the local community, learn about new developments and keep everyone informed and up to date.
The Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) celebrated the 30th anniversary of KWO Day at Tar Kreh Village, Hpa-An District in Karen State, Burma on Sunday 5th April, 2015. Over 300 people attended and participated in this special event. KWO women leaders from Doo Pla Yar, Doo Tha Htu and Hpa-An districts participated in the event. There were two sections to the overall event. The first part was a celebration and the second part included handing out KWO honorarium certificates to long term full-time staffs who have worked for KWO continually over 10 years. During this event there 10 out of the total 100 women honored were able to make it in person to receive their “Certificate of Honor”. KWO will send out the certificates to KWO district offices for all those women who were unable to attend. They will make sure that all the remaining 90 women will receive their special honor. KWO also successfully launched their new book and report on the eve of the 30th anniversary. The book is called “Karen Traditional Clothes” and the report is the new Karen language version of KWO’s “Walking Amongst Sharp Knives”. Special thanks to all those who participated from the local community, local leaders of Hpa-An District, Karen Youth Organization , Karen Women Empowerment Group and others women leaders who made it to the event.
KWO successfully conducted “Baby kits and women’s health” TOT training in January 2015 inside Karen State. The training lasted about two weeks started from 20th to 30th January. The participants came from the 7 districts, Ei Htu Hta IDP Camp and few central level Baby kits and women’s health project staff members. There were 25 participants and 3 trainers for this training. The training focused on project management and women health. All of the training participants is going to conduct follow up training in their represented areas.
KWO puts out a quarterly magazine (September to December) in Skaw Karen and Burmese which are distributed through out the 7 Karen refugee camps. Each magazine is passed between refugees being read by multiple people. It is just one way we seek to keep our community up to date and informed.
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.
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.
The ongoing use of state sponsored sexual violence in Burma’s ethnic communities
(Yangon, November 24, 2014) – Burma Army soldiers continue to engage in acts of sexual violence on a widespread scale, and women and human rights defenders in ethnic communities face harassment and persecution, the Women’s League of Burma (WLB) said in a new report published today to coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. To achieve sustainable peace and help safeguard the rights of ethnic women, the government of Burma must immediately stop its military offensives in the ethnic areas, pull back its troops and begin political dialogue with the ethnic armed groups towards genuine federalism.
The WLB’s new report, ‘If they had hope, they would speak’: The ongoing use of state-sponsored sexual violence in Burma’s ethnic communities’, highlights 118 incidences of gang-rape, rape, and attempted sexual assault that have been documented in Burma since 2010, in both ceasefire and