Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA Thai Burma Border Project Officer, Zoë Bedford, explains why she is so passionate about working with Burmese refugees at the School for Shan State Nationalities Youth (SSSNY).
The students at SSSNY are adult students. They have come from arduous environments – some have lived for a time in Thailand as migrant workers, some are new to Thailand having just come out of Shan State for the program. They are a mix of young men and young women from 18 to their mid 20s. Continue reading →
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA project officer, Zoë Bedford, blogs about the Umpiem Mai refugee camp fire and how donated funds are being used to aid the recovery process.
I distinctly remember the moment I received the phone call on Thursday 23rd February 2012 telling me that there was a fire raging out of control in the Umpiem Mai refugee camp on the Thai Burma border. My blood went cold and I immediately thought the worst – that there would be a large loss of life. Thankfully that was not the case, however, the loss of people’s homes and property - people who have already experienced loss when forced to become refugees – is extremely concerning.
Image left: The aftermath of the fire. Image right: Families start to return to the site of their original home and are living under plastic tarpaulins and other salvaged materials. The families have assisted in cleaning up the debris and re-stabilizing the soil in preparation for rebuilding.
As the Thai Burma border project officer, I have been to the Umpiem Mai refugee camp and the other camps that house the more than 160,000 Burmese refugees living on the border between Thailand and Burma. Each camp has its own character, but in many ways they are so very similar. Two of these similarities are devastating should a fire break out. Continue reading →