The Civil war in Burma is labelled as the longest ongoing civil conflict in the world, dating back to the aftermath of the second world war. 70 years on internal conflict has had a devastating effect on the country, and the country and especially the border region has seen severe human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
As a result of the prolonged ethnic conflict, and the the systematic attacks on ethnic minority civilians, around three million people are thought to have fled their home country. Due to the close proximity, hundreds of thousands have fled conflict and persecution in eastern Burma to neighboring Thailand.
Mae Sot is a small Thai city just a few kilometers of the Burma border where a garbage landfill has been the settlement place for 500 refugee families. 50% of this community are children from different backgrounds. Unstable and inadequate access to electricity – forcing the local community to rely on natural light – has contributed to children’s lack of education access and uncertain future.
Social struggles facing most migrant communities in Mae Sot are magnified in the landfill community, such as:
- Dropout rates from school is significantly higher
- Social problems – early marriages, substance abuse, teenage pregnancies.
Green Island, a collaborative project, is a refugee community centre based in the center of the landfill aiming to provide educational support and activities to the children – giving them the opportunity to play and form friendship regardless their background, empowering them and ensuring they stay in schools and out of trouble.
Kinect Energy is supporting the Green Island collaborative project through the installation of renewable energy solar panels to support around-the clock powered activities, enabling unlimited access to education opportunities within the community center, freshly prepared food and safe environment to socialize. The solar panels will also increase safety and visibility at night by powering streetlights in the area.
Additionally, Kinect Energy is supporting the conduction of a survey around the Thai/Burma border to map out needs of solar powered energy.