Eleven teams of Karen and Karenni men and women completed a Youth Leadershipand Relief training course from 23 November to 23 December 2003 in KarenState, Burma. The purpose of the training was to prepare teams to bringhelp, hope and love to the people of Burma, especially to the InternallyDisplaced Persons (IDPs). A total of 50 persons (48 men and 2 women),comprising ten Karen teams of 4-5 persons each and one Karenni team of 5persons, completed the training and were sent on relief missions. Thetraining was organized by the National Democratic Front and facilitated bythe Free Burma Rangers.
The Karen teams included one team each from Toungoo, Nyaunglebin, Thaton,Papun, Dooplaya, Mergui-Tavoy, and Paan districts, as well as additionalteams from Papun district, the Karen Youth Organization and the KNUheadquarters-relief section. The teams received training in leadership,public health, first aid, advanced medical and basic dental care, humanrights interviewing and documentation, reporting, counseling, video andstill camera, map and compass, land navigation, sketching, swimming,lifesaving, rappelling, rope bridge building, river crossing techniques,security, communications, planning, operation orders, history of ethnicnationalities of Burma and the National Democratic Front, physical trainingand a field training exercise.
The training culminated in a two-day field training exercise that tested theteams in every area of their training. This exercise was conducted using anIDP scenario with twelve stations to which the students had to navigateand complete the assigned tasks. This was conducted under pressure, overdifficult terrain with multiple river crossings and no food or sleep. Everyteam successfully completed all tasks. Morale was exceptionally high throughout the training and reflects well on these young leaders.
Upon graduation each team was equipped with enough medicine and medical supplies to treat 1,000 IDPs, a video camera, tapes, still camera, film,radio, flashlights, back packs, hammocks, personal equipment, cash fortravel, food and for emergency relief, educational supplies (includingbibles and hymnals where requested), “Good Life Club” packs for children,clothes for IDPs, toys, sporting equipment, and a reporting format.
Each team will conduct relief missions to IDPs in their district areas for1-2 months beginning on 26 December 2003. Upon completion of their missionseach team will send a completed report and all tapes and film to theirrespective leaders who will in turn send them to the FBR office. Anyrelevant relief, human rights, medical or other information will be passedon to the appropriate organizations. The teams will be evaluated, retrainedin needed areas, re-supplied and then sent on to the next relief mission.
Thank you and God bless you,
The Free Burma Rangers