The School for Pa-O Women’s first graduating class is already having an impact.

The Pa-O Scool for WomenThe Pa-O School for Women graduated its first class in May, 2011. Already the women, who have returned to their villages in the Shan region of Myanmar, are having a positive impact in their communities.

Several of the women are doing training and organizing in their communities. One graduate is teaching English in her village school, and has introduced her students to human and women’s rights issues, subjects her students would never have learned before. She’s currently partnering with the Kaung Wrei Social Network, an organization that works in the villages to improve Pa-O communities.

Before the first class began, it took a lot of convincing of parents and village elders to let the young women break with tribal tradition and leave their homes to go to school. Now that the first graduates have returned to their villages, their parents are anxious for them to continue learning and village elders appreciate their contribution. This change in attitude made recruiting new students for this year’s term that much easier.

After the women have spent a year working in their villages, they will become eligible to apply for internships with the Pa-O women’s union, and to engage in advanced studies.

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