Awareness Through Art: Burmese refugee youth raise awareness about sexual and gender-based violence

  • Malaysia


International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)

Kachin Refugee Learning Centre

Spring Learning Center

Date program started:



  • Increase awareness of gender-based violence (GBV) faced by refugee women and children from Myanmar


  • Promote greater awareness of the high-risk of gender-based violence refugee women and children face
  • Engage Burmese refugee youth in increasing knowledge of these risks in their own community
  • Promotion of changed attitudes and behavior with the goal of preventing gender-based violence

Targeted population:

  • Burmese refugees in Malaysia, particularly refugee youth

Challenge addressed:

  • Lack of awareness of gender-based violence

Program description:

  • The majority of Kuala Lumpur’s urban refugees come from Mayanmar
  • Cultural attitudes and behaviors surrounding gender roles and vilence, coupled with the stresses of statelessness, poverty, and uncertainty, have led to refugee women and children being at high-risk of gender-based violence
  • The International Catholic Migration Commission (IDMC) teamed up with Kachin Refugee Learning Centre (Kuala Lumpur) and Spring Learning Center (Penang) to launch an Awareness Through Art contest
  • In Kuala Lumpur almost 100 youths between the ages of 13 and 17 participated, creating artwork illustrating the themes of “Say no to violence” and “Respect”
  • In Penang more than 60 children aged between 5 and 16 from the Rohingya and Muslim refugee groups created artwork with oil pastels focused on the themes of “Respect” and “Staying Safe”
  • The top three pieces of artwork were featured on postcards which were then distributed in the community, with the aim of promoting new attitudes and behavior

Impact on targeted population:

  • Over 100 refugee youths were involved in promoting awareness of sexual and gender-based violence in Kuala Lumpur and Penang
  • The art pieces reached a broader audience within the refugee community in both cities

Conditions required:

  • Information and training on gender-based violence for refugee youths
  • Art supplies, such as paint and canvases, and a space for the art work to be created


ICMC – ‘A mini grants program promotes equality and prevents gender-based violence in Malaysia’

Kachin Learning Centre [Website]

Kachin Learning Centre [Facebook]

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