Naw San Kyawt Yin, or Pi Fa (Sister Fa), has been the manager of the "Safe House" for 3 years and is responsible for coordination as well as fundraising. She is also in contact with other aid projects.
Pi Fa is an ethnic Mon, grew up in Burma and has been living as a recognized refugee with her mother and sister in Sangkhlaburi since she was a child. She also knows the difficult fate of the refugees, having experienced hard times herself. That is why she now devotes herself entirely to helping those who are afflicted by life.
I have had many conversations with Pi Fa, whom I met several years ago in Sangkhlaburi when she was still working at Baan Unrak (a children's home). An approximate translation of what she said:
I enjoy the work very much, although sometimes it is not very easy. We have a lot to do with the authorities. Most of our residents are stateless and have no rights and difficult access to education or to health care. Since our old people and the mentally ill residents as well as the HIV-infected are vulnerable to diseases, we need a large part of our money for medicine.
For our approximately 60 residents we need about 500 Baht (CHF 18) per day for food. We have 14 people working at the moment, in the office and in the care of the patients. We pay an average wage of 3500 Baht per month (105 CHF), but of course we know that it is difficult for someone with this wage to support the own family. We are sort of dependent on such people because the budget would not allow a higher wage. But we are also very proud of our employees, they all do an excellent job and work with joy on this project. We are a very good team.
Money is limited everywhere. It has become even more difficult to find sponsors since the political situation in Burma has improved. Many aid organizations now find it easier to work directly on the ground in Burma and are withdrawing more and more from the border villages. But the problems at the Thai-Burma border are still the same.
Also for our new place, where we have to build everything again, we are of course dependent on sponsors. But we will fight for it, we owe it to all our residents. They have lived in poverty almost all their lives and many of them have been on the run all their lives. We want to help them to have a reasonably dignified life. The new situation in Burma is of course very positive, but for our residents it does not change anything, because most of them were uprooted in Burma and would not find a family or a place where they can continue to be cared for.
Website Safe House Sangkhlaburi, Thailand: Website