Last week, the San Diego Diplomacy Council welcomed a very special guest. One of the 2019 International Women of Courage awardees Naw K’nyaw Paw from Burma. Its is now the 13th year that the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award (IWOC) recognizes annually women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice. We were very proud to host one of them!
Naw K’Nyaw Paw moved across San Diego sharing the political situation in Burma advocating for refugees and women, learning about local initiatives while sharing a smile that exudes joy and determination. She is an inspiring human rights activist and General Secretary of the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) which supports women and girls from the Karen minority who are internally displaced in Burma or living in refugee camps in Thailand as the result of the military violence against them. Her organisation was the first, and one of the few, in Burma to publicly condemn the military-led violence against the Rohingya people.
We would like to thank all of the local professional counterparts, elected officials, schools, and community members who shared their experiences and ideas with her on how to encourage and promote the refugee and displaced women of Burma while learning from her own experience. Thank you to Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Monarch school students, parents and staff, Karen Organization of San Diego and community members, Family Justice Center and City Attorney Mara Elliott, La Jolla Country Day School, Project Concern International, Survivors of Torture and our dinner hosts.
A special thanks to La Jolla Country Day School for hosting a memorable Global Social Hour for our special guest to connect and engage with students, parents and community members. Photos and highlights of the event will be soon shared.
Many people approached Naw K’nyaw Paw to ask what they can do, and how they might be a part of the solution. Below is a message from Ms. Naw K’nyaw Paw of the Karen Women’s Organization with three few ways you can Take Action!
- “ Advocate
Our advocacy priorities include protecting the human rights of all, in our case specifically Karen and other ethnic minorities in Burma against the atrocities the Burmese army is inflicting on these groups; pushing for the U.S. to continue to support refugees; and encouraging targeted sanctions against the Burmese army. Please help us share the stories of what is happening in Burma, which has been in the longest-running civil war in the world since 1948 when we became independent from Britain. It’s been over 70 years!
Your time and effort as a volunteer will help protect and promote human rights in Burma. Would you like to come volunteer at our refugee camps along the Burma-Thai border as an individual or with a group through your school or church? Contact Naw K’nyaw Paw atKWOCentral@gmail.com.
As funding has been drying up with the false sense in the world that Burma is now a democracy since its 2015 election, we are appealing for two pressing, tangible needs in our camp: Funding Support for KWO’s Early Childhood and Special Education Lunch Program, and Special Education Teacher sponsorship. Two appeal letters are attached, which include more details. Here are the numbers in brief: $1 per day will help support a teacher, who offers vital support and growth to our students and families; $31 per year will help support one child’s lunch in our camps, providing a stable source of nutrition. To donate, join us on www.karenwomen.org—just look for the donate button” .
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