KWO Nursery Schools Mid-School Year: Competition, Teacher Training, and General Education

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

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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.

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2014-15 School Year has begun for 375 dormitory students!

The 2014-15 school year has begun and KWO’s 9 dormitories in 5 camps are up and running! For the 2014-15 school year, KWO has 375 students in the dormitory project. Here are some photos from Umphiem Mai and Mae La camps of the first day of school for dormitory students!

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Karen Sign Language (KSL) Volumes 1 to 7

The Karen Women’s Organization’s Special Education Project works to positively impact the lives of children with special needs and advocate on their behalf to achieve basic rights. One way KWO’s SE Project is working towards this goal is through the creation of the Karen Sign Language (KSL). There are currently 7 volumes of KSL. Volumes 1 -5 were produced by World Education. World Education then handed over the SE project to KWO in 2007. KWO has now produced volumes 6 and 7 of KSL through a collaborative effort of KWO SE project staff, former deaf students, SE teachers and trainers. All the volumes that KWO has produced include NEW signs. These words never had a sign in KSL before, so they could not be used in communication. Thanks to the hard work of KWO’s SE team, communication in Karen for those who are deaf has improved and diversified.
KWO SE staff, in town and in camps, will continue to create new signs and produce KSL videos in the future. We hope that these videos will be a helpful resource for the community (deaf and non-deaf) and aid in positively impacting the lives of the members of the Karen community who are deaf.

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Karen Sign Language KSL Vol 1

Karen Sign Language KSL Vol 2

Karen Sign Language KSL Vol 3

Karen Sign Language KSL Vol 4

Karen Sign Language KSL Vol 5

Karen Sign Language KSL Vol 6

Karen Sign Language KSL Vol 7

KWO Special Education Program TOT Workshop

On May 20 – June 14 2013 there was follow up SE TOT for one week conducted in each camp. The town based project staff facilitated the TOT. The TOT’s 88 participants included, all teaching staff in each camp (teachers, trainers, and school directors).

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The topics covered in the training were Continue reading

Reflection on Refugee Return: Youth Drawing Competition

Refugee Youth Drawing Competition: 6 Winners from Mae La and Umphiem Camps and other contestants drawings. Please see the slide show below;

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A visit to one Karen Women Organization ( KWO ) supported dormitory in Karen State

A visit to one Karen Women Organization ( KWO ) supported dormitory in Karen State

In April 2012, I went with 5 KWO colleagues to Doo Tha Htu district in Karen State. Among other activities we also visited a student dormitory that has been supported for several years through KWO and individual friends. There are 30 students who live full time in that dormitory. During our visit we met with 21 of them (12 girls 9 boys). The other students had gone home to their villagers for the summer school holiday. The students were excited to see us and we were very happy to meet them as well. We sat in a circle at the dormitory carer’s house and we introduced ourselves. We asked the students why they had come to live in this dormitory.The students replied:

  • “There is only a small primary school in my village and I want to continue high school so I came and attend high school in this village. I have no relatives to stay with here so I stay in the dormitories.”
  • “The cost of study is too expensive, and my parents cannot support me and if I do not stay in the dormitory I could not continue my education.”
  • “Some villages where we come from are three hours walk one way. The distance is too far to walk every day so I stay in dormitory.”
  • “Some of us are orphans and we have no one to care for us and so we live in dormitory.”

We also wanted to find out what the students wanted to do when they finished school and what do they dream of. Most students replied:

  1. Teacher
  2. Nurse and Medic
  3. Captain/Commander
  4. Missionary
  5. Working with KWO
  6. Become government worker

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We also asked them to draw a picture of their dream village of how they would like to see their village one day. They had to think of what kind of development they wanted to see in their villages, they had to think about it and put it into drawing. We gave the students about half an hour and after that each student presented their drawing and explained it to the big group. We noticed in most of their drawings, something in common: We saw in most drawings, the Karen Flag hanging in front of the schools, and there were wells, toilets and good roads in their villages. These are important to them because currently in their villages, there are only few toilets and in the school there is only one toilet, it is for the teachers use. In their villages now in front of the school there is only the Burmese flag, so they would like to see the Karen flag instead of the Burmese one. There is very few or no well in their villages and most villagers use one river to get water and this river is used by both animals and people for bathing and drinking. During the raining season the river floods and there is lots of mud in the river and it is hard for them to drink.

For us from KWO, it was very satisfying to see these young people thinking of water and toilets as important and as essential things in their dream village. It was inspired too, to see Karen flag flying in front of their schools. The school in the village where the dormitory is only goes up to grade eight, not the end of high school. After that they will have to find another school if they want to finish high school. Many students from the village in Karen State have come to the refugee camps along the border to study until they finish high school and have lived in dormitories that KWO support. In the refugee camps, KWO supports currently 16 dormitories with over 600 students from Karen state.

This is our favorite moment to see all dormitory students drawing their ” Dream Village”.

As the school year starts again in May 2012, we are still looking for funding for this dormitory in this village. We rely solely on donations so some years, we do not have enough money to support them, and the KWO at village level has to borrow money to buy food for them. We have to thank Australia Karen Organization (AKO) Women Departments for contributing annually to this dormitory.  The dormitory students also do fund raising themselves. They sell snacks and have luck draws during any community events. They raise chickens to eat at the same time to sell them and buy other food and needs. In 2011 we provided some funding for their building and we were very pleased to see the newly built dorm, which was not completely, finished but was in good condition. We will continue to support this dormitory and continue looking for funding to support children having access to basic education. We would like to thank all individuals who donated money to KWO. We are able to provide support to these children because of your support. We hope you will continue to support us to fulfill the dream of these children.

Written by Naw K’nyaw Paw, Education Program Coordinator, Karen Women Organization (KWO)

Nursery Schools in IDP areas and camps

KWO also runs nursery schools in IDP camps and areas in Karen State inside Burma.  Children’s families have been forced to flee their villages due to conflict and attacks by the Burmese junta.  Despite the circumstances we are able to provide enrichment, nutrition, and care to hundreds of children as well as training for teachers.

Since May 2008, KWO has given financial support to Nursery schools in 5 districts of Karen State: Mu Traw, Du Thu Htu, Doo Pla Ya, Kler Lweh Tu and Pa an. The schools are managed by local KWO staff.

Since 2006, when Ei Tu Hta camp was established, KWO has been supporting the nursery schools for IDP children who live there.  There are 5 Nursery Schools with a total of about 400 children receiving daily lessons and care.

Parents Workshops: Parents of young children in Ei Tu Hta IDP camp were given the opportunity to attend 4 half-day training sessions on early childhood development

Student in Nursery School in Mu Traw District

Teacher and Students in Doo Pla Ya District

2011 Train the Trainers Workshop

 Teacher Training: Teachers in Ei Tu Hta IDP camp are given a 10 day training each year during the April school holidays.

Family Days: In all of the schools in the Ei Tu Hta IDP camp project, and in Mae La Oo and Mae Ra Moe Refugee camps, we conducted short opening and closing ceremonies each school year, plus a family day to celebrate the festive season in December. These were designed to encourage family involvement and included speeches by staff and community leaders and performances by the children.

Teacher Training KWO trainers in refugee camps cannot easily reach the Nursery School teachers in Karen State. Currently we provide 10  days of training, once per year. The area coordinators then returned to their districts and provided training to the teachers in that area, either through a central group training session, or by visiting individual schools, or a combination both.