For over 30 years refugees on the Thai/Burma Border have eked out an existence. A whole generation has been lost to these camps because of the brutal campaigns of ethnic cleansing by the military. Many turn to alcohol and drugs as an escape. DARE Network and RIJ have been partners for refugees on the border for over a decade. DARE implements the work while RIJ supports materially. The RIJ-DARE partnership works to build community programming for refugees ensnared in the cycle of addiction.
The Myanmar government has done little to make conditions safe for the return home of the refugees. Military troops remain in the areas of the refugees' homeland, despite a ceasefire. Rather than withdraw from the area, the military are entrenched. There are still landmines everywhere. People have no land to return to. It makes the prospect of return unlikely, despite all the talk of it. And yet the refugee camps have become a dire place to stay, with rates of suicide and addiction soaring.
In the face of all this, local organizations like DARE Network remain on the ground. Because of the conditions and the insecurity for their future, young people in the camps are increasingly resorting to drugs and alcohol to relieve their feelings. DARE and RIJ continue to work with the youth to give them a place to share their frustrations, find new ways of thinking about the future and to understand that substance abuse will only make them hurt more. 120,000 people continue to need our help.
The greatest effect at this time is the fact that DARE Network is embedded in the refugee communities. When and if, they can return to their homeland, we will go with them, offering our workers job security and suffering addicts relief. We need to bridge the gap between the rock and the hard place. We appreciate your continued support to the well-being of the displaced ethnic people in camps, on the Thai/Burma Border. It is now more important than ever. Thank you so much for your help.