Kwehsay talks about his work with the Karen -Podcast #81

'Kwehsay' Miku Chaiboosomjid works from Bangkok as the Information and Campaign Coordinator with the Burma Issues/Peace Way Foundation. Burma Issues is a non-profit organisation, made up of young ethnic people from Eastern Burma who now dedicate their lives to educating and empowering the grassroots communities in Eastern Burma, documenting human rights abuses and acting as a bridge between the grassroots communities and the international community.

The organization has 3 main projects.

Grassroots empowerment: educating and empowering communities in Burma's civil war zones. Providing education to both adults and children in concepts of civil participation, leadership, critical thinking, and cultural pride
Information for action: documenting the human rights abuses through interviews, videos and photography
Campaigns for peace: raising awareness amongst the international community about the situation

Initially through partnership with CUSO-VSO and VSO International, Burma Issues had access to learn skills on documenting human rights violation with video documentation and advocacy in the middle of year 2003. Later on VSO International enabled us to work with and cooperate with more ethnic human rights organization for human rights activities and to cooperate in the field of youth and women and youth empowerment and capacity building.

A brief biography of Kwehsay in his own words:

My name is Kwehsay and I was born in Karen State Burma. My village was destroyed by the Burmese Army in 1976. We had to live in the jungle. My father was killed by the Burmese Army three months before my mother gave birth to my youngest sister. I had no friends to play with and no school to go to and no health care when we got sick. I had no food some times and have to go the jungle to find edible food for our survival. My mother planned many times to kill herself and to kill us as she did not want to see her children starve to death and she did not want to see us alive after she died from starvation. As you are not in this kind of situation it will be difficult for you to relate.

I came to the Thai Burma border in 1983 to stay with my uncle for my education. Again the Burma Army attack and occupied the place and I have to move to Thailand and live in the refugee camp in April 1984. I live in the refugee camp for ten year. No freedom.

I went back to my village area several times between 1990 and 1993 to visit my mother and I have seen that thing have not changed to the better situation. In 1994 I started working with Burma Issues as I believe in its ideology and concept in finding the solution of the conflict in Burma in a peaceful and non-violent way. I started working as the Human Rights information collector in my own village area and provide basic human rights training to the local villagers. When I work as the human rights information collector I did take photos and document my own house which has been burned down by the Burmese Army.

We believe in justice and peace and we hope you all stand with us.

We are calling for the respect of human rights

We do stand for justice

Stand with us.

More information about Kwehsay's organization is available at www.burmaissues.org

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