Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment (WEAVE) gives over 300 internally displaced refugee women a safe place to make gift cards, bags, scarves and dolls by hand; often the women’s only source of income. The organization was formed in 1990, as a community-based organization that empowers women through health education, literacy, income generation, and human rights and leadership training. WEAVE programs address the needs of Karen and Karenni women in the Mae Sot and Mae Sariang refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border who have fled from persecution by the Burmese military regime.
Community Context Up until a series of economic and political reforms were introduced in 2011, Burma’s decades-long oppressive military regime wreaked havoc on the country and its people. The Burmese army specifically targeted the Karen and Karenni minority ethnic groups because of their struggle for regional autonomy, forcing thousands to flee to neighboring Thailand for safety. Today, there are some 148,000 refugees in nine camps along the Thai-Burma border, facing constant struggles to keep their families fed and healthy. WEAVE collaborates with local and international groups to implement programs that address health and women's issues in the camps, and creates opportunities for women to make and sell crafts.