Jury’s Orphanage is located inside one of the refugee camps 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.
Jury’s orphanage has existed inside a refugee camp in Thailand where 50,000 refugees from war-torn Burma have fled after enduring horrific attacks by the Burmese army. 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.
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.
Ga-Bleu, Orphanage Director.
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 23 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. Due to the war in Burma, the number of children who reside at Jury’s varies from time to time. Because of these threats, Ga-Bleu has been actively looking for land in Burma, away from the conflict, to move the orphanage in 2017.
Salween river forms the boundary between Burma and Thailand.
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 approaches Thailand from the east. It forms the Burma-Thailand boundary for over 100 kilometres before re-entering Burma passing through the Mon state and the Karen state.
Travel by boat up the Salween river.
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. Jury’s Orphanage will relocate across the Salween River to a safe location in Burma in 2017.
Typical Burmese hardwood house.
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.
The initial reasoning for relocation of Jury’s Orphanage is due to the threats of deportation from refugee camps. While the threats remain, Ga-Bleu senses a deeper motivation to move from the refugee camp back to Burma, regardless of the status of deportation threats. Ga-Bleu believes the time has come to return to her home country and operate Jury’s orphanage from within its borders. She feels great responsibility to return to her homeland.
Burmese village child.
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. It is evident that Gae-Bleu has laid down her entire life on behalf of the orphans many times over.
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.
Burmese village child.
Whilst Jury’s Orphanage remains in the refugee camp there is a continuing need to support the children’s nutritional, educational and health needs. The risk of malaria and dengue fever is constantly present.
This is a worthy humanitarian project. IHO Global needs your help to make a difference in the lives of these vulnerable refugees.