War-stricken Karenni women seeking trauma support to cope with depression and mental heath problems.

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In Karenni (Kayah) State, women who have been displaced and living in constant fear due to the ongoing war are expressing need for training in how to cope with post-traumatic stress. The war has taken a toll on their mental well-being, leading to deepening feelings of depression over time.

On May 23rd, the Karenni Woman Organization (KNWO) organized a one-day morale-building training session in an IDP camp located in the western region of Demoso Township. A total of 20 women residing in the camp actively participated in the training course.

Daw Nan Moe (39) expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such courses, emphasizing the profound impact they have had on empowering women with greater moral strength. “These kinds of courses should unquestionably be embraced. The psychological scars endured by individuals like us, who have been displaced by war, are profound and cannot be underestimated. I firmly believe that fellow displaced individuals, who share a similar life journey to mine, would echo my sentiments. In times of fleeing conflict, the psychological distress inflicted upon women is particularly severe. Women carry the burdens of numerous concerns, encompassing the sustenance of their families and the education of their children. When afforded the chance to partake in such courses, one can find solace and alleviate our depression to a certain extent”, she told the Kantarawaddy Times.

Daw Nan Moe, who sought refuge in the camp after fleeing her homeland in 2021 due to escalating conflicts in the Demoso area, shared that she has been living as a displaced person for over two years now. She escaped alongside six family members in search of safety and stability.

Previously, Daw Nan Moe sustained her family by working as a vendor, generating income through her business. Regrettably due to the constant threat of artillery shell explosions in the vicinity of her vending location, she was compelled to cease her work.

She also admitted that as the family’s income decreases and their means of livelihood become more challenging, the stress levels inevitably rise.

During the one-day morale-building training session, women were provided with education and an opportunity to discuss various topics encompassing physical, mental, sexual, socioeconomic, and traditional forms of violence. Additionally, the session included programs designed to promote open dialogue and organized discussions.

“Through open dialogue, we were able to share the challenges we were individually facing, which brought a great sense of relief to all of us. This session had a profound impact on our well-being. We strongly advocate for the continuation of such sessions in the future. By doing so, we believe that the immense stress experienced by displaced women can be significantly alleviated. Therefore, we kindly request the establishment of additional courses to address our needs”, 17-year-old Ma Dee Dee, who participated in the open dialogue program said.

In Karenni State, women’s organizations, social groups, and individual initiatives have been actively involved in implementing various efforts to uplift the morale of those seeking refuge in IDP camps. These initiatives include engaging in group discussions, facilitating open dialogues to share personal difficulties, listening to others’ experiences, providing encouragement and comfort, and organizing recreational activities to bring joy and happiness.

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