Nant Bwa Bwa Phan is the representative of Karen National Union in the United Kingdom. We were delighted to have her as a guest speaker at our fundraising dinner in Chichester last year, hosted by the then Mayor Michael Woolley. Bwa Bwa has recently written a brilliant article on the current plight of the Karen people in Burma which has been published on the Democratic Voice of Burma website.
We work with children from Karen State both within Burma at our Nursery Schools and in Thailand in our Children’s Crisis Centre, Boarding Houses and Migrant Schools where many Karen families flee across the border to find safety.
In her article Bwa Bwa highlights how the international community continue to make policy about Burma whilst ignoring what is happening in Karen State. In 2006 the Burmese Army launched a major offensive in Karen state resulting in the most appalling crimes against humanity with 80,000 Karen people fleeing their homes to hide in the jungle.
Bwa Bwa notes that the UN made no response to this, even when their envoy visited Burma. Four years later, despite a petition for action from 84,000 Karen people to UN Secretary General Ba Ki-moon and to other Presidents and Prime Ministers across the world, there has still been no reply.
While the international community continue to focus their attention on events in Rangoon and Naypyidaw, the shocking abuses and atrocities in Karen State continue to be ignored.
Bwa Bwa says “The generals know this, which is why they carry on killing. They know all they need to do is make nice speeches in Naypyidaw, and agree to let diplomats visit now and again, they can literally get away with murder.”
Please read the full article by Nant Bwa Bwa Phan, find out more about our projects with the Karen people both within Burma and Thailand and consider donating to our work.
As the sun starts setting in Thailand, children all over the country can be seen playing ‘Takraw’, a popular game similar to volley ball where the players don’t touch the ball with their hands but with their head, feet or any other part of the body. The children love leaping high into the air to punt the ball back to their opponents.
On a recent visit to our Children’s Crisis Centre on the Thai-burma border, our Field Assistant Satawat Sriprakarn had the opportunity to see the children enjoy a few matches of Takraw in the evening. He said “I saw them playing on the cement field that we made for the Crisis Centre instead of playing in the dust and getting dirt on their clothes”.
The cement court is one of the new facilities that have been built as part of our renovations to the Centre in the last 10 months. The renovations have focussed on improving sanitation for the 75 children in the centre including new flushable toilets and a bathing area.
For these children keeping clean is vital, but we’re fairly convinced the new playground’s appeal lies in the extra bounce it gives to their ball games rather than the extra clean appearance it gives to their clothes!
The Children’s Crisis Centre was set up to support refugee children fleeing the brutal regime in Burma. Many of these children arrive in Thailand having been separated from their parents. Without parental care and support they are vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation, many have suffered traumatic experiences and have little or no access to food and education.
The Centre provides much needed shelter, food, education and trauma councelling for these children. Where possible we work to re-unite children with their parents. We are thrilled to be able to make these improvements to the Centre this year thanks to the generosity of our supporters.
Please feel free to find out more about our Children’s Crisis Centre and consider supporting the project by making a donation.
This weekend staff and volunteers from Children on the Edge took part in Chichester’s Get Active Festival, a free family sports and activities day presented by Chichester District Council. We ran a popular face painting stall and raffled off two pairs of Goodwood Revival tickets, generously donated by Revival’s founder Lord March.
As we painted our way through many butterflies, tigers and spidermen Spirit FM described our work over the tannoy to the hundreds of people in Oaklands Park enjoying the day.
“We were delighted to be part of the Get Active Festival. It’s a fantastic opportunity to rub shoulders with others in the local community and let people know what we do” said Euan Clarke, Community Fundraiser at Children on the Edge.
Get Active was part of Chichester’s Big Weekend which also included a local food fare and a beautiful illumination of the city’s park and walls.
Please feel free to find out more about our work and how you can get involved.