CHARIS volunteers aid Myanmar refugees in Thailand

COERR, under Caritas Thailand, has been providing humanitarian services for 30 years over nine camps along the border, including Ban Mae Surin.

Thailand
Jul 17 2014, 2:10 PM
CHARIS volunteers aid Myanmar refugees in Thailand
COERR agricultural centre where residents rear animals for consumption and livelihood.

The Caritas Humanitarian Aid and Relief Initiatives Singapore (CHARIS) deployed a mission team of 12 volunteers in Thailand from June 16 to 22 to interact with and assist residents in maintenance work at the Ban Mae Surin refugee camp.

Located deep in the forest along the Thailand-Myanmar border, Ban Mae Surin houses close to 3,500 residents with majority being Karenni refugees from the Kayah state in Myanmar. The residents lead a simple village life without electricity and access to the world outside.

Catholic Office of Emergency Relief and Refugees (COERR), under Caritas Thailand, has been providing humanitarian services for 30 years over nine camps along the border, including Ban Mae Surin.

CHARIS provided COERR with a grant to reconstruct the Social Service Centre and Child Friendly Space that was lost in a deadly fire last March in Ban Mae Surin camp. 37 residents, including a COERR camp staff, were killed in the fire.

The volunteers renovated the two communal centres and painted wall murals and fences for the residents.

Volunteers also visited the COERR agricultural and vocational centres, which help to provide livelihoods and sustenance for the residents.

One of the volunteers Ms Irene Pinto, 51, said, “This trip truly showed me the meaning of how love and life have no boundaries.”

CHARIS is the umbrella body for the Singapore archdiocese’s overseas humanitarian aid.

Source: The Catholic News