Category Archives: refugee

The current situation

KNU soldiers in their front line on Thailand-Burma border. (Photo: Saw Yan Naing / The Irrawaddy)

KNU soldiers in their front line on Thailand-Burma border. (Photo: Saw Yan Naing / The Irrawaddy)

There is a good short summary of the current situation in this Irrawaddy article: “Kayin State’s Fragile Peace” I seems balanced and careful and is well-documented.

[You may get warnings from your browser that the site is dangerous, however if you ask for the details it appears Google found as many as “0” problems when they visited! As far as I can see the warning is a error.]

An iPad in a refugee camp

Take a teacher with an iPad, her name is Diane, put her in a refugee camp with just three hours electricity per day. Mai La Ooon is out in the forest hours from the town of Mai Sariang in northwest Thailand.

She showed students how to tell their stories, in this case food:

Diane also tells her story. It is also about food as well as iPads 🙂

Karen News reports that a fire has devastated the KKBBSC buildings

Photo of the fire from the Karen News website

A fire has destroyed a bible school and other buildings in Mae La Refugee Camp, 57km north of the Thai town of Mae Sot at 12.30pm today. Camp residents managed to put out the fire after about an hour.

A camp resident whom witnessed the fire explained to Karen News that the fire destroyed several buildings in the Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Bible School and College (KKBBSC) compound located in Zone C.1A of Mae La refugee camp.

“The fire started in the food storage building. Now many buildings including the school, food storage, library, teachers’ houses and other buildings were destroyed by the fire.”

Close the bridge, pressure the refugees

Unofficial travellers under the Freindship Bridge at Mae Sot (photo by jackol)

The last two paragraphs of a DVB article explain the closure of the “Friendship Bridge” according to the Thai govenor of Tak Province:

 

Thailand’s Foreign Trade Department estimated in October last year that around $US3 million was being lost each day due to the closure of the bridge, the main land-crossing between the two countries. In 2009 trade through Mae Sot was worth about $US860 million, nearly a quarter of the total annual bilateral trade.

Perhaps as a result of the bridge’s closure, as well as attempts by Thailand to curry favour with the junta in return for winning lucrative investment contracts, Thai policy toward refugees has become stricter, and some 10,000 Karen who fled earlier this year have been forced to find shelter in makeshift camps along the river, with little access to food and healthcare.

Meanwhile the military on both sides of the river profit, more bribes. Big ones for the important soldiers, who can help with smuggling the significant loads, small ones for the average grunt, but a nice addition to the family budget. The bridge could stay closed as long as the two governments are controled by the military.

Teaching Initiative for Refugees and Migrants around Mae Sot

The Burma Education Program are looking for teachers.

In 2011-2012 BEP will provide a Training Award for migrant teachers to include for the first time an accredited certificate. In the refugee community BEP will continue with materials development to provide EL curriculum materials for all primary schools in the refugee camps along the border. In support of this programme, BEP will provide a Mobile Unit offering professional training to the refugee teachers.

They need people with British or Irish citizenship plus a degree and ELT certificate. If this is you or someone you know do look at the job description.

Aside

There is an excellent post “Why are there Burmese refugees? Part II: Letter from a student” that describes life in Burma under the military and explains why som eone might prefer to live the restricted life of a refugee camp.

More refugees in Pho Phra

Image from DVB

According to the Democratic Voice of Burma several hundred villagers have again fled fighting just across the river from Pho Phra.

In fighting between the DKBA and the Thatmadaw (Burmese/Myanmar Junta’s Army)  two villagers were badly wounded by Army shells.