Monday, November 14, 2011

Pre-trip Training Session 3

We had our third meeting on Saturday, November 5 on the topic of "Refugees and Ethnic Groups".
·       Ice-breaker
·       Presentation of the issue (guest speaker)
·       Presentation of CBOs: KHRG and TBBC (participant presents; group signs thank-you cards)
·       Cultural training (participants presents)
·       Follow-up on Budget; Fundraising
·       Discuss logistics: Register for State Dept. updates; Protest
·       Q&A / concerns / action items (paperwork, payments, etc)
·       Wrap-Up Activity!

Guest Speaker: Myrah, US Campaign for Burma
·         History—Burma independent in 1948
o   Many ethnic groups (as seen on map)—Independence from British in 1980, this is when many tensions were created
o   Minority states—rich in natural resources.  Problem w military regime in Burma right now is greed and power—fighting w ethnic minorities, keep pushing them out of their villages to keep power
§  ex. Karen State, ended up in Salween River (sp?) once they crossed over, would become refugees in Thailand
o   What is going on in ethnic areas? Rape, killing, human rights abuses on a daily basis. From June-September there were 35 cases of gang rape—do we know about this in international community? no. is still closed to media.
o   Regime has brainwashed people of Burma—views of people in ethnic areas by people in central Burma, same as view of people in central Burma by those in border/ethnic areas
o   Service contracts
o   Questions:
§  Where are most refugees? Thailand (red area on map), will find 9 refugee camps. Some in Bangladesh and India, these do not get as much assistance as Thai/Burma side
§  How did you leave Burma and come to America?  Was an IDP in Burma, had to migrate bc of regime, ended up at Thai-Burma border refugee camp, work she did was illegal, was followed by spies.  Decided to come to US to leave situation—went to college in Hawaii
·         when 12 years old approximately
·         Opportunity for education in camp? Education gap to America, but yes some education/schooling
§  Relationship between ethnic minority groups and larger population, larger cities
·         information channels back and forth—mediator
§  Challenge as IDP in Thailand?  IDP is challenging in every way, no right to live as a human being. Right to live safetly is the most challenging. In refugee camp, behind fence is quite safe
·         young people in camps typically get more drunk)
§  Refugees will not be as outgoing as us will need to approach them, ask qusestions
§  Are people still ethnically group once divided once campaign
§  Technically Thai are not responsible for Burmese immigrants, but take responsilibility bc of involvement by international influence instruments points
Presentation: Free Burma Rangers- Phoebe
·         Vision: free press and to stand for human dignity, justice and reconciliation in burma (please see handout)
·         Many org.s send their members to the Free Burma Rangers for training
·         Requirements: 1. Love (work for free) 2. Ability to read and write 3. Physical and Moral Courage (bc are going to war zones)
o   cannot run away from people they are resisting
·         Trained more than 110 teams, conducted over 300 humanitarian missions, 1000-2000 patients.
·         Puts emphasis on faith, putting people together with different faith backgrounds
·         Primarily based in Burma (are never allowed to be in contact w Burmese army), push back from the army depends on army’s level of knowledge of their presence
Presentation: TBBC, Thailand Burma Border Consortium- Erin
·         (please see handout) TBBC is a consortium of 12 INGOs from 10 countries providing food, shelter and nonfood items to refugees and displaced people from Burma
·         The Weaving Project—provides people with materials to make their own clothing
·         Emergency response—currently responding to flooding, updates can be found on website
·         one of the largest organizations—are the life blood of the refugees, HQ in Bangkok
US budget cuts greatly affecting programs such as this bc cutting foreign aid. Giving money to refugees and cross-border assistance, IDPs, included in load of money that goes to refugees. TBBC org. handles money and distribution of money. US also gives money inside Burma through USAID.

Cultural Lesson:
·         Etiquette—public displays of emotion (excessively) are frowned upon, elders are greatly respected
o   Nonverbal—do not pass anything over someone’s head,
§  show repect to elder, kneel down
§  meeting monk—put palms together and gesture down
§  mindful of embarrassing others
o   Culture inspired by Buddhism
§  Men have greater status than woman, believing in reincarnation—women should strive to be men in next life
§  Man- breadwinner, turns money over to wife- financially responsible for family
§  rights through education and business
§  Family ties—typically live in same home or live very closely, intimate atmosphere
§  Age—if someone is of a higher age than you, you are required to respect them
o   Onji (sp?)- traditional wrap (clothing)
·         Food—some examples of traditional dishes
Cultural Lesson: Erin
·         Classical music- emerged form royal courts about 800 years ago—each type of classical music uses small cling hand cymbals and the krap wooden stock to mark the primary beat reference
o   Piphat
o   Khruang Sai
o   Mahori
o   Traitional/Folk Music
§  Mor Lam
o   Popular Music
§  Phleng pheua chiwit (influenced by western rock)
§  String (string pop, mainstream music now)
o   Room 39—popular band, Thai but now in LA
Budget, Fundraising (IMPORTANT!)
Border Link—brochure on Blackboard, ThayBay Education Network Brochure

Blackboard—go to Alt. break Groupàright hand side, Thai/Burma Winter 2011-2012àFile Exchange or Group Blog to upload docs or

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