Federation of Trade Unions for Kawthoolei (FTUK)
Federation of Trade Unions Kawthoolei (Karen) is an independent democratic trade union formed in October 7, 1998 and has been working for labour rights and the restoration of democracy and human rights in Burma for over 10 years. It has three affiliated unions such as Education Workers Union (KEWU), Health Workers Union (KHWU) and Agricultural Workers Union (KAWU) and has over 10,000 members. FTUK has its objectives to safeguard workers rights; promoting solidarity among workers, work for social security, up-grading the skills of workers and to be assistance to the restoration of human rights and democracy in the Union of Burma. FTUK has been working in the community for organizing and educating members about trade unions and democracy.
Karen Information Centre (www.kicnews.org)
The Karen Information Center has been providing news to Karen communities for more than 14-years. Besides our Karen News website we also offer readers a hard copy Karen language newspaper, K’nyawTakasaw, a Burmese language version Kayin Thadin Sin (a Burmese language version is also available on CD).
Karen news is reported and written by Karen journalists to provide information on issues that shape Karen communities in Burma and around the world.
Karen news provides a window to Burma and the international community on what is happening in Karen state. Our journalists live and work in Karen communities, know the issues that affect Karen people and aim to bring those issues to the attention of people across Burma, in the diaspora, and to all readers interested in the struggles and triumphs of the Karen people.
For over sixty year Karen state was a conflict zone, during which the Burmese army has waged war against the Karen people. Since 1996 more than 3,600 villages have been abandoned or destroyed, and as many as 500,000 people have been displaced as a direct result of armed conflict.
For Karen news journalists, everyday stories cover a range of crimes against humanity – extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, forced labor, child soldiers, forced displacement, human trafficking. Among the carnage, however, are stories of hope, love and dignity.
Karen Womens Organisation (http://karenwomen.org)
The Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO) was formed in 1949. Saw Ba U Gyi organised the establishment of a Karen women’s organisation, headed by his wife. Partly due to his death in 1950 and partly because of the lack of a central Karen headquarters at the time, the organisation never became active. It was not until August 1976 that it was decided, at a Karen National Union Congress, to re-establish the movement. Naw Blue Sein headed up KWO at the district level. In 1985 KWO reformed into central level and has a membership of over 49,000 women.
KWO is a community-based organisation of Karen women working in development and relief in the refugee camps on the Thai border and with IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and women inside Burma. KWO have expanded their focus from one of purely social welfare to try to encourage an awareness of Women’s Rights and to promote women’s participation in the community decision-making and political processes.
The responsibilities of KWO committee members are divided into three main areas: organisation, health and education, and social welfare. The constitution lists the areas in this order.
The objectives of KWO
- To assist women in the endeavour to be free from all forms of oppression.
- To promote and empower women in all spheres of life, including education and general living standards.
- To encourage women to participate in the struggle for freedom, democracy and equality.
- To develop women’s knowledge, ability and skills, including political and organisational skills.
- To achieve the rights of women and equal status with men.
- To promote and maintain Karen culture and traditions.
- To improve the well being of women and children and to increase their access to adequate health, education and welfare service
KWO aims to empower women through offering various capacity building trainings to teach skills, build confidence and create new opportunities so that women will be better able to solve problems. We are working hard to educate our communities and ourselves so that we can work more effectively and advocate for our struggle on the international stage. KWO believes that women’s contribution is an essential factor in the peace-building and national reconciliation processes of Burma.
Karen Youth Organisation (http://www.karenyouthktl.org)
In August 1976 KYO was formed in the districts and P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win was elected as KYO Chairperson for the districts. Later KYO was formed at Central Level on 23rd May 1989. For many years the KYO has performed valuable work on behalf of the Karen community, helping young Karen to develop their potential to work in and on behalf of the Karen community. There are currently 40,911 KYO members.
In March 2001, the organization was revived at the first KYO congress, new leaders elected and membership renewed. Its leadership has become younger and has included more young Karen women. In 2005 the second KYO congress was held and new leaders elected. KYO’s role in the community has become more important for the younger generation. It is structured to maximize youth’s participation in and ownership of our programmes. KYO currently has committees at four levels, they are Central, Districts, Townships and Villages.
We provide training in education and formation of youth, leadership and management, social protection, community development, community organsiation, political education, and other relevant programs within the Karen community to ensure that local needs are met by local solutions. Our main goal is to empower and equip youth with skills that will enable them to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community.
Our vision is to empower and equip youth through democratic leadership and socio-economic development for a better world for establishing a place of justice and peace.
Our mission is the formation and education of young people, to play a vital role for a just and peaceful society.
Our aims and objectives are to empower young people to actively share their current and future livelihoods in order to achieve the targets of development. E.g. environmentally sustainable; politically and economically accessible and socially just by:
- Helping today’s youth in becoming democratic national leaders.
- Educating the youths about their responsibilities.
- Raising the living standard of the youths by improving their physical and mental power.
- Maintaining, upgrading, and encouraging participation in the various cultures of the ethnic nationalities within Burma, while promoting fellowship and cross-cultural exchange.
- Supporting the achievement of unity among the different ethnic nationalities, which are presently being oppressed.
- Establishing democracy throughout the country while promoting the concepts of a Federal Union.