[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]IHO Global are honoured to partner with LightBridge International to undertake a worthy humanitarian initiative to aid poor Burmese orphan children relocate from the Mae Lat refugee camp on the Thai border back to homeland in Burma.
Jury’s Orphanage located inside the Mae Lat Refugee Camp on the Thai/Burma border. Through these years, Jury’s has provided a safe home, food, clothing, education and critical medical care for war orphans from Burma. They are victims of a nation that today is still unstable, violent and very poor. Some of these orphans have lost their parents due to war. Some are victims of poverty due to war and have been sent on their own to this refugee camp. Due to the war in Burma, the number of children who reside at Jury’s varies from time to time.
Children in relocation project to Burma.
Ga-Bleu, Project manager.
The orphanage director, Ga-Bleu, is the daughter of Jury, the founder of the orphanage. Ga-Bleu has been a refugee in the camp for 22 years and took over directing the orphanage when most of her family was granted asylum in other countries. She has given her life for the sake of her people and the children in her care.
This past year, credible threats have developed that the Thai military-run government would expel refugees from camps and force them to return to Burma. Because of these threats, Ga-Bleu has been actively preparing by securing land in Burma and building on this land to move the orphanage in 2015.
Ga-Bleu instructing the children.
The Salween river has its origin at about 5,400+ metres in the Qinghai Mountains in Tibet near the headwaters of the Yangtze and the Mekong rivers. It enters the Chinese province of Yunnan. It then flows south through the great mountain ranges of eastern Burma and approached Thailand from the east forming the Burma-Thailand boundary for over 100 kilometres before re-entering Burma passing through the Mon state and the Karen state.
Salween river forms the boundary between Burma and Thailand.
The southern part of the river has often been the location of conflicts between the Thai and Burmese over political issues. The majority of the population living on the river has always been very poor, even in poverty the region remains largely agricultural.
Travel by boat up the Salween river to the new location.
Environmental & Geographical Issues
Jury’s Orphanage will move to the war torn country of Burma in 2015. The new home is located in the jungle on a hill above the river separating Thailand and Burma. The land has been used for farming by the nearest village. Depending on rain and other farming realities, food supplies may be hampered.
A steep hill climb from the river to the location of the new project.
The Salween river flows through Burma, but there is a short section where she forms the border between Burma and Thailand. However, before long the forests will be laid bare. They are losing to the chain saws and bulldozers.
In recent years, clear-cutting by Thai logging companies in search of teak have denuded sections of the banks along the Salween, exposing the fragile soil. Hundreds of varieties of plants and animals live here, including some that are on the endangered list. Due to the ongoing civil war, this area has been inaccessible to the Burmese military junta.
First glimpse on the new dormitory in Burma.
The Burmese forests harbor numerous varieties of plants and animals that have not been documented. Tigers, Leopards, and rhinoceros roam in these forests, There are literally hundreds of varieties of medicinal herbs which grow on the floor of the forest and in the trees.
Village mom and daughter climbing upstairs into dormitory.
Teak trees are commonly used for building. In addition Burmese forests have other hardwoods such as the red ironwood and the Burmese rosewood which are prized for building even more than Teak.
Ethnic Group, age ranges and people in project
The main ethnic group that lives in the orphanage as well as the village near their new location is from the Karen Tribal group. The age ranges for the village is from infant to 65 years of age. Children in the orphanage range from infant to 20 years of age.
Local village grandma and grandson[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]
Village resident and his children[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Available Local Resources
Local resources are extremely limited, but include:
- Farming Land
- Animals that are hunted for food in the jungle
- Fish from the river
- Indigenous fruit from wild trees/plants
- Wild brush used for roofing
- Wood used for building huts as well as used for cooking fires
Current Project Assets
To date, Jury’s Orphanage has the following building assets in the new location:
- School building
- Temporary bathroom
- Temporary kitchen area
- Land cleared to construct remaining buildings
Jury’s Orphanage will have the following program assets in the new village:
- School that Ga-Bleu will operate and teach for orphan children and local villagers,
- Fully functioning orphanage.
Salween River bordering Thailand & Burma[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]
Boats used for transporting goods and people.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Political Criteria
Burma is a country at war and holds the distinction of having the longest running civil war in history. The Burmese government is controlled by the military and has been ruthlessly killing, razing villages, raping, displacing and terrorizing ethnic minorities in the hill tribes of the country for over 60 years. The new location for Jury’s Orphanage is inside Burma; however, it is located on the border of Burma, near Thailand. The nearest village (just five minute boat ride away) has been there for 25 years with no threats from the Burmese military during those years. Ga-Bleu and her staff feel this location is safe from the threats of the Burmese military.
Inside new school building.
The initial reasoning for relocation of Jury’s Orphanage was due to the threats of deportation from refugee camps. While that threat remains, Ga-Bleu senses a deeper motivation to move this year, regardless of the status of deportation threats. Ga-Bleu believes the time has come to return to her home country and operate her orphanage from within its borders while, at the same time, educate and train her own countrymen living in nearby villages. She feels great responsibility to return to her homeland at this time.
According to Ga-Bleu, the protocol for relocation will be the following:
- Construct all necessary buildings
- Establish a garden/farm for produce
- Develop clean water sources, education and filtration
- Gather supplies needed for relocation
- Establish a school building and resources to begin educating after relocation
- Establish secure routes for travel between the new location and Thailand
- Begin the relocation process with the children (a few at a time will relocate)
Length of Project
Joining with Jury’s Orphanage in this next chapter of relocation will involve many things. As funding becomes available and resources secured, we estimate Ga-Bleu will complete the relocation to Burma by the end of 2015.
Jury’s Orphanage is an ongoing work. In addition to the work that has been happening, we envision that further outcomes will materialize by:
- Continued operation of the orphanage
- Increased number of orphans who can now live at Jury’s in Burma
- Establishment of new school for orphans and surrounding village children
- Development of clean water sources, education and filtration
- Potential opportunities for training in sustainability for the villagers and orphans.
As westerners, we cannot imagine being forced to flee from one’s own country and live as refugees in another. This has been the life of Ga-Bleu and the children in her care. That has been evident her entire life as she’s laid it down on behalf of the orphans many times over. While our concerns are legitimate, so is Ga-Bleu’s desire to return to HER country, with HER people, to educate and help make a difference in HER homeland, in spite of the potential risks.
Potential Health Risks and Risk Assessment
The risk of Malaria and Dengue Fever is constantly present. Likewise, the risk of injury or other illness is always present. Travel risks are always present as well. The new location for Jury’s will present substantial health risks that come with living in a jungle without easy access to health care.
Orphanage Director, Ga-Bleu and her husband, Ma-Now.
Come on board this humanitarian journey with us. Your gift can help these young children of Jury’s Orphanage.
IHO Global needs your help us make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]