Naw Paw knows all about the needs of her community.
She’s both doctor and refugee in the Mae La Camp and is getting a new pair of glasses, but says basic eye care is not easy to come by.
I’m an eye doctor.
But we don’t have any equipment to treat patients in the refugee camp.
People come to me with eye problems, so I do basic checks.
But we need more.
These doctors from an American not-for-profit organization are providing inexpensive eyewear to refugees and villagers in remote areas of Thailand.
They have a new tool to work with, that allows anyone to conduct eye check-ups and provide 3D printed glasses in just 20 minutes.
We are the first team on the ground outside of a university setting or an army setting that is actually using this system.
So it’s early in its infancy.
But there are tremendous tremendous potential that we see, for this really getting out there and really helping a lot of people see.
Most of the more than 100,000 refugees in these camps in Thailand have fled Myanmar southeast in Karen state,
where Karen nationalists have been fighting for independence for almost 70 years.
But funding from international aid groups has dwindled in recent years, prompting many refugees to consider returning to Myanmar.
But they’re told it’s still not safe.
Renewed fighting between Karen nationalists and the Myanmar military has displaced thousands more people since March.
The refugees need to coordinate with the Karen Peace Council first to verify how safe it is to go back.
They should not go back on their own.
Because if something happens, no one will take responsibility for the safety of their lives.
With intermittent conflict forcing many of these refugees to stay put and aid cuts to the camps,
this innovative new program is bringing much-needed care to a neglected community.