Saturday 7 May 2022

Webinar: Conflict in Karen State, A growing crisis, 17 May

YPD Australia are partnering with the Australian Cardijn Institute to present aApril webinar entitled “Conflict in Karen State” with Zoya Phan, Chris Sidoti and Kwi Kwith on Tuesday 17 May at 7.00pm AEST.

With the world’s attention focused on the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine, little media attention has been paid to the situation of the Karen ethnic community in Myanmar, particularly since the February 2021 military coup.

The military seized control on 1 February 2021 after a general election which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide.

Since then, the Myanmar military have intensified military operations in regions of Karen State controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) causing more than 150,000 people to flee their homes.

These people are in urgent need of food and other aid, a rights group has said, as fighting that has raged in the area for months becomes even more intense.

“You could say this is an emergency situation for the IDPs,” Naw Htoo Htoo, spokesperson for the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) told Myanmar News last week, using a term that stands for internally displaced people.

Our webinar will address the present situation and the challenge of building peace with justice in the South East Asian nation.


Zoya Phan

Our keynote speaker will be Zoya Phan, author of “Little Daughter: A Memoir of Survival in Burma and the West,” which tells the story of her teen years fleeing the military as a displaced person in the Burmese jungle and later as a refugee on the Thai-Myanmar border.

Zoya currently works for the Burma Campaign UK. In this role, she has become one of Europe’s leading democracy activists for Burma. She also helped create the European Karen Network.

Following the assassination of her father, Padoh Mahn Sha Young, in 2008, she and other family members set up the Phan Foundation charity.

Chris Sidoti

A former national secretary of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Chris Sidoti is an Australian expert on international human rights law, a lawyer and advocate.

He has served as Australian Human Rights Commissioner (1995-2000), Australian Law Reform Commissioner (1992-1995) and Foundation Director of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1987-1992). From 2003-07, he was director of the International Service for Human Rights, based in Geneva, Switzerland,

More recently, he was a commissioner on the UN Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar 2017-19 and is currently a member of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar. Chris is also an adjunct professor at the Australian Catholic University.

Kwi Kwith

Kwi Kwith is the founder and coordinator of the Young People for Development (YPD) network in Thailand and Myanmar.

He has many years experience working with development NGOs and in relief work in Myanmar-Thailand border area.

He is currently working on relief programs for displaced Karen people inside Myanmar.


Date and Times: Tuesday 17 May 2022, 7pm Sydney, 5pm BKK and 10am UK.



Myanmar: What has happened since the 2021 coup? (BBC)

Over 20,000 people displaced in southeast Myanmar suffering food shortage ‘emergency’ (Myanmar Now)

Burma Campaign UK

Zoya Phan (Wikipedia)

Undaunted: An Interview with Zoya Phan (Open Society Foundation)

Chris Sidoti (Wikipedia)

Chris Sidoti (Australian Catholic University)

Young People for Development Karenland

Young People for Development Australia

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Karen YPD Medical Training program

As we reported in our previous post, the Covid crisis has hit Karen villages and communities in Myanmar very hard.

Sadly, many of those villages lack trained medical personnel able to care for patients suffering from Covid and other illnesses.

The Karen YPD has responded to this challenge by organising a one-month medical training program for young people from seven local villages.

Congratulations to the organisers, teachers and students who made this possible.

Thanks also to the Korean Hope Foundation (Marie Rhie) and Akasaa Malaysia (Angela Yap) for the financial support that made the program possible.


Monday 13 September 2021

Urgent Covid campaign for YPD Karenland

Patient's face blurred for privacy

Covid 19 is continuing to devastate many isolated villages and communities in Myanmar. Many of these villages lack adequate medical and hospital facilities.

The YPD Karenland has mobilised its eleven teams to provide medical assistance to these villages.

"When people get sick, they do not have a hospital, clinic or health workers to look after them," says YPD coordinator, Mr Kwi Kwith.

"Because of this, YPD has to look after emergency cases such as medical treatment, health worker and special nurse.

"Myself, I do not have any experience to work as a health worker, but now I have to work as special nurse to look after the patients. I have to call the doctor and follow their directions.

"We really need a special nursing course. So I have contacted a doctor who will train us in a special nurse training course.

"We will receive a credit certificate from the hospital will be able to officially work as special nurses all over Myanmar," he explained.

The cost of the training course for 11 eleven nurses comes to 55,000 Thai baht ($US1700 or $A2300), including equipment and supplies.

Kwi Kwi and his team have already raised over 10,000 Thai baht for the project.

YPD Australia is working to raise the rest of the amount.

Please send your donations to:


BSB: 806-036

Account number: 100900472

Thank you for your generosity.

Monday 29 June 2020

Water for Karen villages

The Karen YPD team are moving forward with their plans to develop a social enterprise for young people in the Myanmar-Thailand border area.

Their latest initiative is to bottle and distribute water to local villages under the "Karen YPD" brand.

Congratulations again to Kwi Kwi and the whole Karen YPD team!

Saturday 23 May 2020

Karen YPD Social Enterprise Project

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis, the Karen YPD is moving ahead with its plans to establish an office and training centre to coordinate its work.

Construction is also well under way for a new social enterprise factory to train local young workers and raise funds for the movement's activities.

YPD Australia is supporting the Karen YPD team in this project.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

YPD 2019 Karenland

YPD 2019 hosted by the Karen YPD took place from 15-22 December 2019 in the border area of Myanmar and Thailand.

The program began with a "see-judge-act" training program at the Wattana Resort near Mae Sot, Thailand.

The theme of the program was "Rights for People on the Move, Migrant Situation and Policy in Thailand and Information Platform."

Participants visited a Karen migrant village where they listened to residents sharing their experiences of migration and the reasons that motivated them, including conflict, war, poverty and lack of opportunity.

Participants listened to the experiences of local people who had been forced to migrate for various reasons including particular war, conflict and poverty.

YPD leaders recorded and summarised the problems faced by local residents.

And they gave feedback to the whole group.

During the evening, YPD members enjoyed themselves with a range of social activities and events.

Later, they also had the opportunity to visit various other local communities.

They joined local communities celebrating the coming of Christmas...

And other cultural celebrations!

Participants also enjoyed sport and swimming together

A highlight of the program was the YPD Village Race!

All tired after the race!

YPD 2019 concluded with the Annual General Meeting to decide the program for 2020.

A big thank you to YPD 2019 coordinator, Kwi Kwi and his team for all their work!

Saturday 30 November 2019

Meat Tasting Success

The YPD Meat-Tasting Event on 15 November 2019 was a great success with 60 participants joining and a total of $1333 raised to assist the Karen YPD movement.

The event was hosted by the Murdoch University School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, which is organising a large-scale consumer satisfaction test.

Each participant rated the various cuts of lamb on a range of indicators including tenderness, juiciness and flavour.

Participants were recruited by and from a number of our networks including churches and youth organisations.

Special thanks to Perth YCW president, Jermaine Beins, (above) and youth engagement officer, Marie Collendavello (below).

Our deep appreciation also to Murdoch University's Dr Jayaseelan Marimuthu (below) and Rachel O'Reilly.

See video from the event here and here.