27th Anniversary of KYO Day – Karen Youth Lack Awareness of its Significance

The Karen Youth Organization celebrated its 27th anniversary at Natchaung Village in Kyainseikgyi Township on 25 May where its leader said that today’s Karen youth are not aware of the important of the organizations existence.

The KYO Day was attended by as many as 100 people, including Karen National Union leaders and Karen youth leaders.

The Karen Youth organization has been the nursery for many of its political leaders, community leaders and freedom fighters. These include, Padoh Kwe Htoo Win, the current general secretary of the KNU, Saw Paul Sein Htwa, an outstanding Karen environmental activist and Padoh Saw Hla Htun, the current head of KNU’s Department of Organizing and Information.

Organizer of the event said that the day was held specifically for the development of Karen youth, the preservation and promotion of Karen culture and to produce patriotic young leaders that would eventually become Karen national leaders.

Karen Youth Organization leader’s are concerned that Burma’s current economic situation and the previous military regime’s clampdown on political groups has meant young people are not aware of the importance of being politicaly active.

Saw Tha Wah Pawpha, chairman of the KYO’s Dooplaya district spoke to Karen News.

“Today there are so many young people who don’t know of the existence of the KYO. By holding the KYO Day ceremony, we want them know about the KYO, its history, its politics, objectives and activities. In this area at present youth are not interested in national affairs, as they are struggling with the economic situation.”

The ceremony was attended by KNU officials including Saw Liston – a central committee member, Padoh Saw Paw Day Aung Myat – chairman of KNU’s Noh Takaw Township, and Mahn Kennedy- KNU’s Dooplaya District secretary. Attendees paid respect to Karen the National flag and the flag of KYO.

The program at the ceremony included a speech by Padoh Saw Eh K’lu Say, vice chairman of KYO that was read out to the crowd and the presentation of certificates of honor for its member who have served in the KNU.

Saw Sha, a youth from Myo Haung village who attended the ceremony as a member of an anti-drug educational play troupe said that there was a lots that needed to be done to organize Karen young people.

“Here in our area, most Karen youths don’t know about the KYO. We’ve seen that the organization of young people is still weak. By attending this ceremony, they will know more about KYO and its activities.”

The 27th anniversary of KYO Day ceremonies were also held in other areas on the border and in Karen refugee camps.

The KYO was first formed in 1936 by Mann Ba Khaing, Mann Win Maung and Mann Kyaw Sein with the purpose of supporting the Karen Central Organization (KCO), an earlier Karen National affair group that was later dissolved. In 1989, the KYO was reformed for the second time at the former KNU Headquarter Marnepalaw to support the KNU, educate Karen youth and for identifying the new generation of Karen national leaders.

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