The camps not run without the input of thousands of refugee workers and community leaders.
Below, we highlight some of those who lead many activities or participate in different camp programmes.
Muree: Leading the way for women
“By helping women and girls gain knowledge and skills, I believe I can help them plan their future and stand on their own two feet,’’ said Muree, who has lived in Ban Mai Nai Soi camp since 2011.
Maw Moe Bu: Grace Under Pressure
Born in the village east of the Salween River, Maw Moe Bu remembers when she was a child and had to abandon her old life. “In 1985, the Myanmar Army came to our area and we lost all our property. We fled and sought refuge at the Thai border, and I’ve been living in Ban Mai Nai Soi camp ever since,” she said.
A Fish Sanctuary for Ban Mae Surin
Remote Ban Mae Surin camp offers few opportunities for residents to improve their livelihoods. But the river running through the camp in Mae Hong Son province is a vital natural food resource for the community, and camp leaders are working to ensure it remains that way.
Nu Po Leader on Past, Present, Future
Saw Gaw was no stranger to difficulties and challenges when he was elected leader of Nu Po camp in 2016. “When I was in Burma, there was often fighting around my village. I had to flee many times. Life was full of fear. When my wife was pregnant, I decided to come to Nu Po refugee camp in Thailand.’’
Leading the Muslim Women’s Association
Ram Zam Be, 33, is chairperson of the Muslim Women’s Association in Umpiem Mai camp, Tak province. After arriving at the camp at a young age to escape difficult circumstances in Karen/Kayin State, Ram Zam Be started working with non-government organisations on child abuse and domestic violence issues affecting women in her community.