El-Branden Brazil

Photographer, Writer & Mystic Traveller

Posts tagged ‘Refugees’

Mae Tao Clinic, Thailand

Acupuncture Administered At Mae Tao Clinic
Acupuncture Administered At Mae Tao Clinic

A Doctor At Mae Tao Clinic
A Doctor At Mae Tao Clinic

Pregnancy Ward At Mae Tao Clinic
Pregnancy Ward At Mae Tao Clinic

A Woman Being Checked By A Doctor
A Woman With Severe Diabetes Being Checked By A Doctor

A Burmese Mother At Mae Tao Clinic
A Burmese Mother At Mae Tao Clinic

Mae Tao Clinic's Surgery Theatre
Mae Tao Clinic’s Surgery Theatre

A Burmese Mother & Infant At Mae Tao Clinic
A Burmese Mother & Her Infant At Mae Tao Clinic

The Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), founded and directed by Dr. Cynthia Maung, provides free health care for refugees, migrant workers, and other individuals who cross the border from Burma to Thailand. People of all ethnicities and religions are welcome at the Clinic. Its origins go back to the student pro-democracy movement in Burma in 1988 and the brutal repression by the Burmese regime of that movement. The fleeing students who needed medical attention were attended in a small house in Mae Sot.

Since 1989 MTC has grown, from that one small house to a large complex of simple buildings that provide a wide variety of health services to different groups of people. Today it serves a target population of approximately 150,000 on the Thai-Burma border. Exact numbers are hard to calculate because of the fluidity of the population. About 50% of those who come to MTC for medical attention are migrant workers in the Mae Sot area; the other 50% travel cross-border from Burma for care.

Mae Tao Clinic Objectives:

1. To provide health services for displaced Burmese populations along the Thailand-Burma border.
2. To provide initial training of health workers and subsequent corollary medical education.
3. To strengthen health information systems along the border.
4. To improve health, knowledge, attitudes, and practices within local Burmese populations.
5. To promote collaboration among local ethnic health organizations.
6. To strengthen networking and partnering with international health professionals and institutions.

Please support this vital service. maetaoclinic.org/

Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Dilemma

Aung San Suu Kyi In Tokyo #3
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is facing mounting criticism about her silence, regarding the Muslim Rohingya, who remain one of the most persecuted communities in the world.  In light of the communal strife that started in 2012 and now with world attention focused upon the stranded boat people, some of whom are Rohingya, fleeing from persecution in Burma, she is feeling great pressure, as a symbol of human rights, to speak out about the Rohingya. Unfortunately, this also clashes with her other persona as a politician.

She finds herself in a deeply unenviable position, where she is trapped between how the Burmese see her and how the rest of the world sees her. For non-Burmese, she is (was) a bastion of human rights, so her silence is disappointing. For the Burmese, she is a politician, who they hope will be able to lead them out of decades of military rule towards real democracy. If she shows any sympathies for the plight of the Rohingya, she will instantly lose her base of supporters, because a vast number of Burmese are unwilling to show any compromise regarding the issue of Rohingya citizenship.

If DASSK becomes no longer a viable opposition leader, as a result of speaking out about the Rohingya, there will form a vacuum that no one can at this time fill, resulting in a further strengthening of the regime’s grip. What can she do? Either lose the respect of the international community or lose the respect of the Burmese? It would seem that her priorities remain at home, even if it means tarnishing her global image.

It is deeply regrettable that she finds herself in this position. It appears as if she has been out-maneuvered by the regime and blocked in.

Ideally, in keeping with her global image, it would have been preferable for her to have taken the human rights path, because there are too few such leaders of her status leading in this field, and the world desperately needs such lights. But, alas, idealism has very little currency in a country like Burma, where brutality and repression have dominated for decades.

Recently, a Burmese man informed me that the reason Aung San Suu Kyi has not spoken out about the plight of the Rohingya is because she shares the same opinion as the majority of Burmese. He was as certain of this, as are the human rights activists, who like to believe the opposite is true. In actual fact, none of us are privy to what her real opinion is on the matter. Either way, a lot of people are going to be disappointed, no more so than Aung San Suu Kyi herself.

People Of Mae Sot Dump

Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Currently about 300 people, 68 families live in small bamboo huts on stilts at the rubbish dumpsite of Mae Sot/ Thailand. These refugees who successfully fled the brutal military regime in Burma, with hopes of leading a life free of human rights abuses, are living under dire conditions. They lack working and residency papers, they are illegal immigrants living and working in the middle of stinky dump.

Their spirit of survival is amazing, but their conditions are terribly dismal. They literally live on the garbage and their houses are constructed and built from the recycled material from the garbage dump itself. The basic essentials they need to survive and to live as human beings basically come from the garbage dump and these include food, clothing, toys for their children, pots and utensils for cooking and even the water they drink come from the lake near the dumpsite which is terribly contaminated.

Please help to make a difference and relocate these refugees to a clean and safe area. On a rented property we will build basic infrastructural facilities such as housing, toilets and a water well.

Learn more here about how you can help: www.thebestfriend.org

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