Sometimes people build their own wells. I worry that this one is too close to the river. When I took this photo the water was very brown. If the water gets a little cleaner the girl will fill up her bucket.
There are small stores and restaurants in the refugee camp. However it is very hard for us to earn money. Some people sneak out of the camp to find work. Others receive money from relatives who have resettled in foreign countries.
UNSEEN MAE LA An innovative arts project for Karen refugees from Burma to describe their lives through photography.
I came to Thailand in 1983 when I was two years old. We fled after my grandfather was killed by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the official name of the Burmese government. My grandfather was a Baptist missionary and worked with many different ethnic groups throughout Burma. The government killed him because they suspected he was a spy. I have never returned to Burma.
I’ve lived most of my life on the Thailand-Burma border. I work with Karen River Watch, an organization focused on the relationship between human rights and the environment. One of our biggest concerns is the hydroelectric dams being built in Karen State. When the Burmese government decides to build a dam the Karen people are forced to relocate immediately. They are not even allowed to take their belongings with them. They have to move to “relocation sites” which are very dangerous places to live. I don’t know if I will ever return to Karen State but I will continue to work hard for my people.