My name is Khu Lee Reh. I was born in Law Kyae Khu village, Hproso Towship of Karenni State. There are nine people in my family. They are farmers and rely on hill site cultivation. So we get our living cost and other essential needs such as school fee for children and health care cost from our farms. I started my primary school in my village. I continued middle school and high school in the town. I left school in 10th grade because my parents needed help farming and they were unable to pay my tuition. I often helped my family with the menial tasks ordered by the SPDC military troops. Even though I understood that it was an injustice, I could not escape these situations. Eventually, I met other villagers who tried to escape execution by SPDC troops and came with them to Karenni Refugee camp in Thailand on May 25th, 2004. Then I continued to study 10th grade in 2004 at the Karenni refugee camp. In 2006, I attended the Karenni Social Development Center (SDC). After graduating, I joined the neighboring KSWDC organization as a staff of Community Development (CD) and went inside the Karenni State in Burma to work for development, sharing knowledge about the basic human rights (e.g. women rights and gender balance), the rule of law, democracy and government, and shared about how to protect the environment from exploitation (e.g., organic farming, cotton farming) among the Internally Displace People (IDP) and villagers where I was born. In my opinion, this project is very helpful for me because it helped me do my services easily and effectively. Before I attended this training project, I knew nothing about human rights, the environment and the rule of law. But by participation in this project I have learned a lot about these topics. This knowledge is very useful for myself but most importantly for my organization and Karenni people. After finishing this project, I could shared this knowledge more effectively to our communities.
When I arrived inside Karenni State, I informed my communities about the impacts of a big dam proposed to be built on the Selwen River by the SPDC governments and the companies. First, I compared the advantages and the disadvantages of building this dam in the regions where they live. At that time, they were unaware of human rights, the environment and the rule of law. Almost none of our [Karenni] people in all of Burma are able to learn about human rights, the environment and the rule of law. As a result, most of our community does not understand that their rights are being violated or that there is a non-violent solution. So, they did not really know about the advantages and the disadvantages they will get if the Slween dam is built in the region. But after teaching them, they better realized the advantages and the disadvantages relating to build the Selween dam on the Selween River.
In this year 2008-2009, I attend again for six months refresher training and finished in November 2008. I have learned more detail in human rights and other important subjects such as compare and analyzing on Burmese constitution and other countries, campaign and lobbying, fund raising skill. I strongly believe that this knowledge will be able to help in my practical way of works.
I would like to thank to our teachers who were trying to establish training center and I would like to express my gratitude to all of assistance donors for supporting SDC project implementation every years. Today, people in refugee camp and inside started to practice and protect their rights. I promise that I will try to participate in human rights and environment works in collaboration with other activists in Karenni State.
In my opinion, it is better for the participants to be able to join on the internet work if possible. If we have this opportunity to practice, it will be more effective for our movements. And I want an organization to be built for the students who have finished this project to do for our community related to this project.
Khu Lee Reh currently works with Community Development at Karenni Social Welfare and Development Centre (KSWDC)