“Most women feel impassioned and motivated to take part in the struggle to gain human rights for people of Myanmar. However, they feel that without education they are pushed back into traditional roles that do not allow them the freedom and mobility to contribute to this struggle.”
In 2009, the We women foundation was founded in the service of assisting unrecognized refugee women from Myanmar. Although the particulars of each woman’s story varied, the reason for their flight from Myanmar was the same: life under military dictatorship in Myanmar was harsh, characterized by chronic economic, social and political crises. For fifty years, forced labor, forced relocation and armed insurgency fuelled by ethnic and political tensions was daily life reality for people throughout the country. Ethnic minorities fled the country, many young women among them. We women assists them in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with education projects.
Since 2010 the military dictatorship is gradually changing towards a “more” democratic political system. 2015 elections saw a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD). For the first time in fifty-five years Myanmar now has a chosen government. Aung San Suu Kyi, said that the elections were not fair, but had been “largely free”. Despite losing the elections, twenty-five percent of the parliamentary seats are given to the military. Crucial posts they will hold are; defense, interior and border and police ministries. Under the constitution, the military can take direct overall control of the government, including management of the economy, if it deems it necessary.
This means that Myanmar is more open, but still under tight control of the military. There are still human right violations on a daily basis, many political prisoners are detained, civil wars are ongoing in many ethnic areas and the Muslim minority is prosecuted.
Since 2014 We women has started operating in Myanmar and our target group is women form marginalized ethnic communities in Myanmar. As these women are often projected as representing ethnic and cultural identity, they are carefully protected and monitored by their community. Young women in particular carry certain responsibilities towards their communities. Because of this, they generally have less access than men to beneficial opportunities, such as education.
Most women feel impassioned and motivated to take part in the struggle to gain human rights for the people of Myanmar. However, they feel that without education they are pushed back into traditional roles that do not allow them the freedom and mobility to contribute to this struggle. Young women often describe education as an opportunity to better position themselves to promote equality for people from Myanmar all around the world. The We women foundation supports Educational Resources, Business Training, Network opportunities and Gender Dialogue for these young ethnic women, so that they have the chance to take part in their human rights struggle and become influential members of their communities.
The We women foundation assists women from ethnic marginalized communities with the ultimate goal of supporting an established, educated and influential community of leaders.