GlobeMed at Whitman College partners with Burmese Women's Union in Mae Sot, Thailand to improve reproductive health of women in refugee communities.
GlobeMed at Whitman College + Burmese Women's Union
GlobeMed at Whitman College | Walla Walla, Washington
Burmese Women’s Union (BWU) | Mae Sot, Thailand
Because women’s rights are not fully accepted in Burmese society, domestic violence and rape are prevalent within the migrant communities and refugee camps. This, in combination with the lack of health care and health education, perpetuates the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and contributes to unwanted pregnancies and low self-esteem and depression among migrant and refugee women.
“BWU knows that it is very important for the international community to understand the situation in Burma, especially as it effects the women of Burma. We understand the student networks in the United States to be very strong and engaged in the issues they believe in. We hope that these students, who clearly have a demonstrated commitment to social justice, will not only be able to learn from their experience within our Burmese community and help spread an understanding of reproductive health and rights to our target population, but also bring their experiences and insight back to the their universities and help BWU raise awareness about the situation of the women of Burma.”
– Thwel Zin Toe, Donor Relations and Executive Committee member at BWU
About the Partnership
BWU was founded in 1995 by a group of young female students who fled Burma in the aftermath of the military junta’s violent crackdown on the popular uprising in 1988. BWU exists to promote the role of women in Burma and to increase women’s contributions to the political and social leadership functions in the struggle for democracy and human rights. By providing educational trainings, increasing access to accurate information and providing women a safe place to gather and discuss their issues, BWU works to increase the capacity of women from Burma to participate in the pro-democracy movement. Since the fall of 2011, GlobeMed at Whitman has raised over $3,000 to support BWU’s reproductive health programs.
GlobeMed at Whitman College aims to fund a reproductive health training program and nursery school program for migrant and refugee women and their children through Burmese Women’s Union in Mae Sot, Thailand. The reproductive health training program will provide a three-day training in the refugee camps, eight reproduction-training discussions among the migrant community, and 40 women with birth control for one year. The nursery school program will provide school supplies, three salaried teachers and food for 30 children in the Mae La Oo refugee camp. This program will be free for children of women supported by the Burmese Women’s Union.
Together Whitman College and Burmese Women’s Union hope to effectively restore women’s rights to reproductive health through education.