Background History

  

The logo of Swe Tha Har organization, as shown on the right, symbolizes peace which is portrayed by the dove carrying the laurel leaves. The eight rainbow-like stripes represent the eight major tribes of Myanmar. The goal of the organization is to build peaceful relationships between the various ethnic religious traditions, faiths and environment.

Swe Tha Har, which means ‘friendship’ in English, is a network of peace volunteers and workers who share a common interest in building peaceful relationships among and between people from various ethnic and religious traditions, faiths, and environment. And living up to its name, it is committed to the promotion of good relationship among and between the diverse religious and ethnic tribes in the country.

Swe Tha Har was established in 2004, by mobilizing and facilitating networks of solidarity and harmony builders, coming together from different parts of Myanmar and who in turn facilitated those who are interested in building solidarity and harmony. The initial teams were trained in social development techniques, community mobilization and organization and in providing humanitarian assistance to communities in need. Consultative discussions were held with the trained teams and the training modules were modified to fit changing situation in the project areas and Myanmar as a whole. After more than three meetings, the facilitators agreed and decided to organize themselves into a network, the Swe Tha Har Organization that commits members to continue regular learning sessions, help each other in their work of promoting solidarity and harmony in their areas and expand their community assistance outreach to non-Catholics.

Swe Tha Har recognizes that underdevelopment, armed conflict, loss of life, displacement, exploitation, discrimination, poverty and suffering of the poor will not end without directly addressing the ethnic and religious tensions that divide communities throughout Myanmar. Founded, too, on the belief that peace is inseparable from personal and interpersonal effectiveness, Swe Tha Har conducts various courses and workshops that enable people to reflect on their personal effectiveness, their relationships with others in their communities or circles, their need for change, and work toward effecting those desired changes.

In the process of building people's personal leadership and effectiveness, Swe Tha Har provides participating groups or communities the opportunity to identify common issues, apply their learning, discuss and where possible, work together or provide support to resolve those issues. Swe Tha Har's comprehensive understanding of the value of building right relationships is rooted in the broadly interfaith tradition of moral wisdom that stresses the necessity for personal change in bringing about a just and peaceful world.