FilmAid Asia supports mobile cinema screenings, media skills-training and the production of educational and awareness raising films to benefit the lives of thousands of refugees, migrants and local villagers living in camps and communities along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Through our FilmAid Foundation, we use the Power of Film to bring non-formal education, information and inspiration to thousands of vulnerable people, raising awareness, changing lives and projecting hope for a better future.
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In response to one of the most protracted refugee situations in the world, FilmAid Asia was founded in 2011 and registered as a non-profit humanitarian organisation in Hong Kong to benefit the lives of over 150,000 refugees living in 9 refugee camps on the Thai Myanmar border.
Decades of conflict led by a brutal military regime in Myanmar, forced hundreds of thousands of ethnic nationals to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring Thailand.
Today, despite a new ‘democratic’ government in Myanmar and ceasefires being agreed by different ethnic states; conflict, repression, land confiscation and extreme human rights abuses still continue in many regions of Myanmar making it an ongoing challenge for refugees to return.
9 Refugee Camps run along the length of the Thai Myanmar border providing shelter for over 30 years to over 150,000 refugees. These camps are located across the border from former conflict areas and provide a home to the many ethnic groups from Karen State, Karenni State, Kachin State, Shan State, Chin State, Mon State, Rakhine State (Rohingya) and Myanmar nationals. Many families and students who were forced to leave their homes to seek safety from the Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) during the years of military repression in the heart of the country, still live in the camps today.
According to UNHCR verified registration figures in December 2018 over 97,500 refugees remain in the 9 camps as the community face the prospect of repatriation and the challenge of how to return home and rebuild their lives in dignity and safety. Humanitarian supports continue to be provided by international local NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) and by CBOs (Community Based Organisations) but cuts to funding and withdrawal of some organisations is leading to problems for the community at this time of transition. The breakdown of the ceasefire between the KNU (Karen National Union) and the Myanmar Government in November 2018 has led to renewed security concerns and meant significant repatriation numbers have not materialised as yet.
FilmAid Asia has supported the refugee camps for over 8 years providing education, information, media skills training and psycho-social relief to thousands through the production and dissemination of films in local languages. As we head into 2019, FilmAid Asia will continue its support for the refugees, migrant and host communities through the FilmAid Foundation - registered in Thailand and called Sermpanya Foundation - to allow for a longer term presence in the region – Sermpanya translates as ‘Sharing Wisdom’ or ‘Encouraging Knowledge’.
FOR MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION
For maps and more information into the history of the camps please go to the The Border Consortium resource website at https://www.theborderconsortium.org/resources/