Human Rights Training (2014)
Students in the program will undergo a ten-month training course taught by past participants in the program and members of the local community. The education will cover democracy and government, constitutionalism, the rule of law and fair trials, women’s and minority rights, and environmental issues, among other subjects. The students have been chosen based on their commitment to the Social Development Center’s values and their experiences living and working among people of other ethnicities, nationalities, and beliefs.
The students live among a community of refugees on the Thai-Burma border, where their families have lived since fleeing ethnic violence in Burma.
In 2011 the Burmese government and various ethnic minority groups reached a ceasefire after some six decades of fighting. Although the ceasefire has prompted much optimism both within Burma and abroad, relations are still tense and many of the refugees are hesitant to leave their relative safety to return to the situation they initially fled.
Since 2002, KSDC has conducted a training course each year for a regularly increasing number of students, which created 33 new graduates last year. Over the past eleven years, KSDC has trained 241 activists for the refugee community. Many have returned to Burma to teach the KSDC curriculum, at great personal danger, to communities inside Karenni State.
SDC completed its basic course training for 48 graduates and its advanced training for 16 students. The students had classes on human rights, gender, environmental issues etc. and completed fieldwork and internships. SDC also conducted a “free and fair” election campaign educating participants about fair election practices and political rights. Trainers met with over 300 people directly and distributed 1,200 leaflets.
Unfortunately for SDC, a major flash flood occurred which destroyed two classrooms, damaged two dormitories and damaged or destroyed many materials. After the flood, they were successfully able to rebuild their classrooms and dormitories and finish the school year for their students. At the end of these courses, Karenni State gained tens of new social activists and the general population increased their knowledge of their own rights.
Shar Myar Kay was born in Daw Liah Lee, Demawso Township, Karenni State and now lives in Karenni Refugee Camp 1. She attended the SDC training course.
“After SDC School, I want to go back to the refugee camp and share about human rights and give trainings. I want to do this because I want to help in the refugee camp. I also want to help in Karenni State so people can know about human rights and won’t be violent to each other.”