Karen Women’s Organisation Day…Mae Sariang, Thailand
Firstly a big thank you to my friend Rachel King, who is currently in northern Thailand working with the Karen Women’s Organisation. She took these beautiful photos on the yearly KWO day celebrating their culture and heritage. The theme of this year was the traditional clothing of Karen women. They are gathering knowledge about all the various styles of clothes as there are many different groups within the Karen ethnic group and the styles of clothing change. They organised a competition on the day and each woman had to explain where her clothes were from and the meaning of the different colours, patterns, etc. even the seeds sown onto the cloth and the strings hanging from the cloth have meaning to the Karen.
The Karen people are one of Burma’s major ethnic groups, living mostly in the mountainous eastern border region and central delta area. For over 60 years the Karen people of Burma have been resisting political, economic and cultural suppression and human rights abuses by the Burmese military regime. Since the 1970s the Karen people have fled across Burma’s many borders to escape the persecution. The KWO is a community based organisation active in all seven Karen refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border and in Karen districts within Burma working for women’s equality, empowerment and freedom, whilst supporting the Karen community to maintain its culture and identity.
If you are interested to find out more, please have a look on their website here.