About Us

The Pa-O Women’s Union (PWU) promotes Pa-O women’s rights and empowers women to become leaders in politics, economics and society as equals with men. PWU is a member of Women’s League of Burma (WLB).

History

Nang Aein founded Pa-O Women’s Union (PWU) in 1999 and continues to serve as its General Secretary.

A migrant worker in Bangkok, Nang Aein came into contact with other organizations that had been established to help ethnic minority women from Burma. At the time, no such organization existed to address the needs of Pa-O women. Nang Aein saw a need to enable Pa-O women’s capacity building, to promote and protect Pa-O women’s rights, to promote peace building, to increase Pa-O women’s opportunities to work with other networking groups and to offer them an opportunity to participate in politics, economics and society as equals with men.

Mission

To enable Pa-O women to participate in leadership as equals with men, and to improve and modernize their standard of living.

Objectives

  • To empower Pa-O women to assume leadership roles throughout Pa-O society.
  • To improve Pa-O women’s standard of living.
  • To ensure that Pa-O women have their basic rights.
  • To promote and develop Pa-O traditions, literature and culture.

Major Accomplishments

  • Internship Program – PWU has operated an internship program every year since 2004 to empower young Pa-O women to be leaders. Eighteen women have completed the program to date. After completing the program, they have gone on to study at School for Shan State Nationality Youth (SSSNY) or Foreign Affairs Training (FAT), or they’ve become interns at Women’s League of Burma (WLB), Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) or Altsean-Burma. Most former interns have come back to work as staff and trainers at PWU.
  • Pa-O Womens School – While the internship program has been highly sucessful in developing leaders, a need existed to educate young Pa-O women in basic English, technical and political skills with the goal of returning them to their villages to teach these skills there. This need was addressed in 2009 with the founding of the Pa-O Women’s School at the organization’s facilities in Mae Hong Son Thailand. The school offers a ten month intensive training program. Graduates return to their villages for a minimum of a year, after which they may apply to become PWU interns.
  • Peace Building Training Inside Burma – In 2009, PWU was able to provide Peace Building Training both inside Burma and in border towns in Thailand. Participants learned how to solve problems using non-violent means and became more interested in education and political activism. Due to difficult security issues, this was the first time we offered this training in conflict areas inside Burma.
  • Strategic Planning – Since 2008, PWU has improved its strategic planning process with help from IRC. This has resulted in a clearer mission, stated goals, a constitution and a three-year work plan, enabling the staff to spend resources more effectively.
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