YOUR March peace mail from Thailand
My name is Ko Meh* and I am a 46 years old. I live in the Mae La refugee camp on the Thai/Myanmar Border.
TBC/Act For Peace
In 1998, I was living in my village in Karen state when the Burmese army entered into Karen National Union territory. Violence broke out and I fled to a refugee camp near home for some time. Sadly, this camp was burnt down. So, along with other refugees, I fled further from home and I arrived in Mae La refugee camp where I have lived ever since.
My husband passed away not along ago, which was devastating. I miss him every day but I have to be strong. Since we didn’t have children and we don’t have family in the camp, I need to be self-sufficient and to look after myself. I suffer from paralysis so my health problems make it very hard.
The only help that I have comes from the Shelter Working Group (SWG), which is part of the work done here by The Border Consortium, Act for Peace’s partner on the ground. The SWG is a team made up of fellow refugees who are trained in building and they are working in my section of the camp. They came and saw my home and how I was living, and they helped me. They constructed a proper shelter to live in so I am protected from the weather and can get around my house despite my paralysis.
I am so much more comfortable now in my home. I live close to other people and have access to camp activities. Recently, there was a small leak in the roof of my new home and SWG workers came back and repaired it.
The SWG team have seen how my paralysis prevents me from getting around and they have plans to build a small bridge path leading to my front door with a hand-rail. This will be a big help as I won’t have to try to cross over uneven ground to get to and from my home. SWG plans to make a path and hand-rail across the front of several neighbour’s households who also suffer with disabilities. This will help us visit each other and build friendships.
Thank you for giving me shelter in a community where I feel like I finally belong.
Ko Meh’s name has been changed to protect her identity as a refugee.
Download this Peace Mail in pdf
Please give generously to continue our life-saving work here or find out about how you can become an Act for Peace Regular Giver.
Act for Peace, through you support, works with The Border Consortium (TBC), which is the main provider of food, shelter and many other forms of support to more than 98,000 refugees from Myanmar. TBC started its work in 1984 when the first flood of refugees crossed the Thai/Myanmar and now operates in the nine camps in the area.
The camp’s population today is a result of decades of war and struggle in southeast Myanmar. The conflict has caused hundreds of thousands of civilians to suffer internal displacement or take flight over the border to Thailand. Since 1984, many more people have arrived and tens of thousands of young people have never known a life outside the camps.
In the 24 years since TBC started its work on the border, many former residents have passed away or resettled in third countries. According to the International Organisation for Migration, more than 109,000 people have been resettled since 2005, but nearly 100,000 still remain.
The camps now vary greatly in size and character. The largest, Mae La, is home to some 37,000 people while the smallest, Ban Mae Surin, provides shelter to approximately 2,300 refugees.
Your support is making a difference
- $230 can pay the weekly wages of a TBC staff member to manage and support the shelter related needs of refugees across all nine camps along the Thai Myanmar border.
View more Peace Mails
This Easter give a meaningful gift to your friends and loved ones.
The Gifts for Peace range includes goats and chickens for families in Zimbabwe, Safe Delivery Kits for Mothers in Pakistan, or the gift of a Kitchen Garden to a refugee woman in Syria. Each Gift for Peace comes with a beautiful card with space for a personal message as well as a keepsake magnet.
Visit www.actforpeace.org.au/gifts or call 1800 025 101. Order by 19 March for delivery by Easter.
More ways to take action
Cyclone Gita has devastated Tongan communities, destroying everything in its path. Please help provide the emergency shelter, food and clean water they desperately need.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya families have fled from violence and persecution in Myanmar. Currently living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh, they urgently need our help.
Take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge during Refugee Week (June 2018) to raise money in support of refugees who have lost everything, and challenge perspectives – including your own.