“As the political circumstances in the border area deteriorated, great pressure was placed on ordinary citizens and some had to search for shelter and a safe environment to live in. We consider ourselves as political victims and as a result have had to flee across the Thai-Burma border. There were two military troops located in our former villages. One was the Government military with its policy to repress its citizens and the other one (The Shan State Army) were fighting for basic human rights for its people and democracy. They were fighting for many years but early one morning in 2002 the fighting escalated. The Government troops shot heavy guns into the village without any consideration for the civilians. So we had to flee to the neighboring country, not far away from our native origins. The battle lasted for about one month. At the present time, our old villages are completely destroyed. There is no possibility to return and we can only look at our homeland from the other side of the border.”

“In May 2002, a Burmese Sergeant entered our village and demanded 200 Baht from each of the residents. My husband and I only had 20 Baht to offer him, however this did not satisfy his greed and he refused to accept our money. Instead he shot my husband, who had already lost a leg due to a landmine, through the neck and head as we hid in a ditch nearby. My three children and I witnessed this terrible event occur and were also threatened to be shot. From that point, we were too scared to stay in our village and fled across the border into Thailand. We, as a family, feel that The Shan Camp offers a safe environment for us and enables the children to obtain an education but we hope that one day, when there is true stability and peace in our homeland, we can return.”

“During the fighting in 2002, the Burmese militia shot heavy artillery into the village and took all our belongings such as trucks, motorbikes, pigs and food as well as destroying many houses. Thirteen people were injured during the fighting, including women and children, and seven people were killed. Amongst the dead was a twelve year old boy who was unaware of the fighting and was shot whilst looking for his father.”