Supporting the Basic Needs and Education of IDP Children in Nuh Poe Refugee Camp
November 1, 2009
The goal of the Karen Youth Organization is to empower and equip the youth to face the future and create a better world based on justice and peace. This includes supporting and educating young people to play a vital role in building a society that is environmentally sustainable, politically stable, economically accessible and socially just. They provide training on education, information technology, social protection, community development, community organizing, political awareness and situational relevant programs in the Karen community to ensure that local solutions are found for local needs.
Decades of civil war in the Thai/Burma boarder region have resulted in the displacement of thousands of Karen People living in the Doo Playa District of the Karen State in south-east Burma. Among the many problems faced by individuals forced to relocate or flee to the jungle is the lack opportunities to access basic education and its resulting negative impact on youth.
Many internally displaced children from Doo Playa district have managed to move to Nu Poe refugee camp where the Karen Youth Organization has set up a school and dormitory which provides IDP students with necessities, such as food, clothing, housing and other basic supplies, and a stable, safe and peaceful environment in which these students can live and learn. In 2007, the KYO formally established a small education project in Nu Poe refugee camp, Thailand, titled ‘Supporting the Basic Needs and Education of IDP Children in Nu Poe Refugee Camp.’ During 2007 year, the project provided free services for 70 IDP students to study in Nue Poe Refugee camp. As a result of this project some of these students have now finished their education in the camp and joined community health and education organizations
This year, with the support of Refugee Empowerment International, this project will help 100 IDP students continue their education peacefully inside Nue Poe Refugee Camp by providing them with food, clothing, housing, basic supplies and extra tuition. This assistance will ensure that students have a safe environment where they can study and develop the self-sufficiency and confidence to integrate into and become valued members of the community.
The boarding school has provided a safe venue conducive for learning for 106 internally displaced children (49 girls and 57 boys) from Dooplaya District.
To ensure the health of the students, personal hygiene packs were provided for the practical needs of the boys and girls. Warm clothes for the cold months (November-February) were also provided to the students to protect them from exposure to the elements.
The students learned traditional Karen arts and crafts、literacy, social studies, science and languages, such as Thai and English. The students were also provided with the opportunity to have outdoors based activities twice a week, while boys and girls were free from their academic classes and other responsibilities in the dormitory. This program helped develop the self-confidence of the boys and girls as well as fostering camaraderie and team spirit through participation in sporting events.Adding variety and enhancing nutrition in the diet, both palatable and culturally acceptable, has contributed a lot in the improvement of students’ health and academic performance in school.
Pei Pei is an 18 year old male student in the Nuh Poe camp. The village that he came from had been attacked by the Burmese military. Pei Pei and his sister escaped the town through jungle and came to the camp. Pei Pei got used to the environment well and got to continue his education and improve his health after entering the camp.
“My sister and I are so lucky to have this opportunity to continue our studies after being disrupted by the attack of the Burmese soldiers. Like the rest of the IDP children, we feel safe away from the dangers of the armed conflict that has been raging on in Kawthoolei (Karen State) for many decades already. Here, we are safe and comfortable and my health improved a lot after a few months I arrived”. (Pei Pei)