Empowering refugee women and girls
“When my husband beat me, I came here,” said Bu Meh (alias), a Karenni mother of five from Myanmar. She was referring to a community-based multi-sectoral project that works to end violence against women and supports survivors in one of the many Karenni refugee camps dotted along the Thailand-Myanmar border.
The project was implemented by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in collaboration with the Karenni National Women’s Organization. The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) supports the IRC programme that responds to the needs of women survivors of violence. The UN Trust Fund is managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN System.
A recent reproductive health assessment by the IRC in nine of the camps along the border found that more than one in five women had experienced some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime. Camp residents suffer in other ways too. Most refugees from Myanmar are not allowed to work in Thailand or to even leave the camps, leaving them dependent on foreign aid organizations like the IRC. Despite the humanitarian assistance, conditions in the camps remain harsh.
The project that helps Bu Meh also informs residents of the services available in the camp, including three safe houses that offer psychosocial support. It runs workshops to raise awareness about violence against women and the rights of women and girls. Thousands of adolescents, male and female, have attended the workshops.
Read the full story on the UN Trust Fund website.