On March 18, the fourth batch of WEAVE’s Women’s Studies Program (WSP) graduated. The 11 young women who received their certificates were joined by their teachers, some WEAVE staff, leaders of Camp 1 in Mae Hong Son, and Thai administrators in celebrating this wonderful and joyous occasion. Thai Chief Officer Palad Wachira gave a moving message to the graduates. In his message, he said that the graduates should feel proud of themselves not only because they have gained new knowledge through the WSP program but also because they are now ready to become the new leaders of their people. The graduation ceremony, according to Palad, is a symbol of the community’s recognition of the women’s abilities to take leadership roles in the community towards a better future for the Karen and Karenni in the camp.
The WSP is a partnership between WEAVE and Karenni National Women’s Organization (KNW0) which began in 2006. It focuses on building individual women’s leadership, decision-making, and planning skills which will in turn strengthen the ability of local community organizations to effect long-term, sustainable change. WSP provides continuing education opportunities for young women and covers a wide and diverse group of subjects such as peace, women’s issues, community development, social studies, English language, Thai language, and even computer classes.
The new graduates of WSP said that the program has helped them better understand their conditions and also about gender rights. According to one graduate, “From our lessons we learn that sometimes women have more problems than men, and this should not be the case. Women and men have equal rights, and they should equally share the tasks of raising the children and taking care of the home.”