Myanmar activist calls for support

Myanmar activist Naw K’Nyaw Paw, General Secretary of the Karen Women’s Organisation, visited Canberra recently.

Canberra APHEDA activist group invited IEU Organiser Lyn Caton to an informal lunch and discussion to meet and talk with this inspiring and influential leader.

K’nyaw Paw was born in Thailand, and as a young child grew up in one of the seven refugee camps which run the length of the Thai/Myanmar border.

She began working for the Karen Women’s Organisation in 1999 and was elected General Secretary in 2013. The organisation now boasts a membership of more than 65,000 people.

Karen Women’s Organisation is a feminist, indigenous rights, community based organisation that plays a leadership role in the struggle to bring democracy and human rights to Myanmar.

It focuses on capacity building, increasing and amplifying women’s voices and influence, as well as providing services to women and children.

K’nyaw spoke about the importance of early years learning and her organisation’s request to fellow unionists to come and work with her members, promoting early childhood education.

The current democratic political situation, instead of facilitating better support, care and service for women in Thai-Myanmar, has inhibited progress for women and K’Nyaw is using this APHEDA sponsored speaking tour to enlist wider support for the communities she represents.

Lyn Caton