Training in the Camp

The PWU staff wanted to find out about the situation in the refugee camp near Mae Hong Son. They wanted to know how the refugees were living and surviving.

When two PUW staff members tried to enter the camp, there was a checkpoint at the entrance. People who do not live in the camp can’t come into the camp unless they have a Thai ID card. Therefore, they had to walk on a small road around a mountain and go into the camp through the back way.

They discovered that life in the camp has been very difficult this year. Because of the economic crisis during the past year, there has not been enough food like rice or salt, or basic necessities like blankets. However, because of a new water tank, this year there was good fresh water.

Some people have been weaving cloth and making clothes to sell to other people in the camp and in other places like Mae Hong Son or Chiang Mai. Some people have land in the camp to grow their own vegetables or animals, such as pigs or chickens, which they can sell to merchants in town.

During the rainy season, the trees fell on many of the homes, and many people lost their homes and their livestock. The people in the camp have to stay in the camp where there are no jobs. Some families applied to go to a third country. Some people were accepted, while others were not. Unfortunately, some of the people who were not accepted had already sold their homes, furnishings and other belongings.

Without jobs, many people became depressed and started drinking a lot of alcohol. Fortunately, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) organization has come to the camp, and is counseling them and helping them to recover from their depression. In addition, the PWU is partnering with the Karenni National Women’s Organization to conduct  trainings in peace building and preventing violence against women.

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