GlobeMed at Dartmouth College partners with the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand to promote the health of women and children displaced by the ethnic conflict in Burma.
GlobeMed at Dartmouth College + KWAT
GlobeMed at Dartmouth College | Hanover, New Hampshire
Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) | Chiang Mai, Thailand
There are approximately 1–2 million Burmese refugees and illegal migrants in Thailand, of which 120,000 live in camps on the Thai–Burmese border.
“We are very glad to work with university students for the benefit of our community. It is a great opportunity to cooperate with young people from a different country. Our team is also comprised of young people and we hope that we will learn from each other as we have different knowledge, skills and perspectives so that we can exchange our point of views.”
– Ah Swi, Migrant Program Coordinator at KWAT
About the Partnership
Five women formed the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) in Chiang Mai in 1999 to support and empower women and children who have left their homes in the Kachin State of Burma and have crossed the Thai-Burmese border into Thailand due to political, economic, and social deterioration. KWAT’s mission is the empowerment and advancement of Kachin women in order to improve the lives of women and children in Kachin society. The GlobeMed chapter at Dartmouth College was drawn to KWAT’s emphasis on women and children’s rights, health, and education, and their grassroots, community-based model. Since their partnership began in the fall of 2014, GlobeMed at Dartmouth has raised over $25,000 to support KWAT’s Health Program.
On the Thai-Burmese border, the acute lack of health resources, combined with overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and food shortages, is causing high rates of illness. The displaced populations of Kachin women and children require greater accessibility to health care and health knowledge in order to alleviate the spread of disease. This year, GlobeMed at Dartmouth and KWAT will focus on creating an emergency fund for mothers who require surgery or hospitalization due to complications during childbirth. The partners will also continue to fund reproductive health trainings for adolescents and mobile medical care visits to IDP camps in Burma.
This project will improve the health of tens of thousands of displaced Kachin women and children. The two-sided approach – prevention through education plus treatment through regular mobile clinics – may significantly reduce the spread and burden of disease in IDP populations.