World Humanitarian Day: One Humanity in Burma I

August 22nd, 2016

World Humanitarian Day: One Humanity in Burma I

Who’s beyond ‘One Humanity’?

As we celebrate ‘One Humanity’ on World Humanitarian Day we want to introduce the work of our great partners to show their amazing work and how they live the spirit of ‘One Humanity’ day by day.

This post is about the Shan Woman Actions Network (SWAN), one of local partner in Burma. 

The Shan State

The Shan State is over 64,000 square kilometres in size and forms the eastern part of the Union of Burma bordering China, Laos and Thailand. The people of the Shan State, like in other areas of Burma, suffer from abuse inflicted by the Burmese military regime. The Thai government, however, does not recognize the Shan people as refugees and has not allowed them to set up refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. Consequently the Shans are forced to enter Thailand’s unskilled labour market as migrant workers, many lacking legal status in Thailand, and are thus extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

 

map-of-shan-state

Map of Shan state. Photo: Myanmartravel

A woman carries her child on her back outside a monastery which has been set up as temporary refugee camp in KyaukMe, northern Shan State, Myanmar, 21 February 2016. EFE

A woman carries her child on her back outside a monastery which has been set up as temporary refugee camp in KyaukMe, northern Shan State, Myanmar, 21 February 2016. Photo: AlJazeera

Who is SWAN?

SWAN was set up on 28 March 1999 by a group of Shan women active in Shan State and Thailand. Their mission is to work towards gender equality and justice for Shan women in the struggle for social and political change in Burma through community based actions, research and advocacy.

women exchange in Loi Kaw Wan

Women exchange in Loi Kaw Wan. Photo: SWAN

Women exchange in Loi Sam Sip

Women exchange in Loi Sam Sip. Photo: SWAN

What is SWAN  doing?

SWAN is supporting Shan woman in healthcare, education as well as empowerment programs. The empowerment program seeks to challenge and disrupt entrenched patriarchal systems. Women participants in SWAN’s empowerment activities gain the tools and confidence to seek decision-making positions and have their voices heard.

WET-Laikha-Pang-Loung-15-20140714-11

Empowering program for Shan Woman. Photo: Women Empowerment training in Laikha and Pang Loung, Shan State SWAN

WET-Laikha-Pang-Loung-15-20140714-14Empowering program for Shan Woman. Photo: Women Empowerment training in Laikha and Pang Loung, Shan State SWAN

How does HART’s support looks like?

HART is the main donor for SWAN’s Health Programme, which aims to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality rates in rural areas of Shan State and amongst displaced populations in Thailand. SWAN trains health workers and volunteers from inside Shan State, teaching them about reproductive health and family planning. They equip them with the knowledge and materials needed for preventative health education and provision of reproductive and maternal health care.

mother child health awareness

Mother Child health awareness training. Photo:SWAN

Caroline Cox inspects the Loi Sam Sip IDP camp medical supplies cabinet

Baroness Caroline Cox inspects the Loi Sam IDP camp medical supplies cabinet on the last HART partner visit trip. (c)HART arcive

We’re so thankful for all of the amazing work SWAN is doing.  They are truly inspiring with their approach towards the struggle woman in the Shan state are facing.

Visit SWAN website to get to know more about their amazing work!

Also, have a look at HART’s partner page to see how we support them!


Disclaimer: This blog is a space for discussion and personal reflection. Any opinions expressed within the blog are those of the author and are not necessarily held by HART. Individual authors are responsible for the accuracy of statements made within the blog.

Vincent Haiges

By Vincent Haiges

Vincent is currently a Research and Campaign Intern at HART and is about to complete his master’s degree in 'Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice' at SOAS, University of London. His research areas are national identity and separatism, political violence and intrastate armed conflicts.


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