“We fled because they wanted to force our boy to be a soldier. He is only ten years old. If we sent him we would never see him again. If we don’t send him they will come for his father and force him to carry their packs and supplies through the jungle. We fled from our village and into the jungle. We came here to be safe and we hoped we could find work in the fields. Often there isn’t work or we don’t get paid and it’s hard to feed our families, but we feel safer here”.
The plight of this family and thousands of others like them is desperate but sadly not new to ethnic minorities in Burma. Over many years we have worked to alleviate the terrible suffering of many who have fled the same patterns of persecution and horrendous treatment by the Burmese military. We have personally heard their stories of rape and killing, the forced relocation of whole communities, the burning of their homes and villages, the pillaging of their crops and livestock and everything that they owned. We are working to help them to begin to rebuild their lives and find new hope for the future.