After a couple of directionless months in Thailand it was meeting Davee from Kid Launch that changed everything. After many hours searching the internet for ethical organisations, a couple of emails and a phone call, I arranged to meet Davee in Sangkhlaburi on the Thai-Burma border. We spent the next three months living together in Sangkhlaburi and surrounding jungle villages working with displaced Karen people. We also took a couple of visits to Myanmar to complete the experience. We now call each other Pii Sao and Nong Chai (older sister and young brother in Thai).
The Karen I came across in my travels touched me in the most amazing ways. How people that have been so persecuted can still remain welcoming and warm was a mystery to me. There was a lot of time to think in the jungle and I saw their pure way of life and started to wonder if western help would spoil it. My mind changed quickly when speaking with Pii Dtom the leader of Kok Sa Derng village who told me, “I want to be equipped to protect my village and culture. Education, opportunity and empowerment will help us achieve that.” This was the same story at every village I visited, each with their own hardship. Ryan had come to join me for sometime here on his travels and we spent much of our time teaching and became part of Karen life.
Before returning to Australia I knew that Davee and I had a shared vision, to share our story on the persectution and displacement of Karen people and other ethnic groups in Burma.