Saturday, March 5, 2016

Thai Celebrities Join UNHCR Campaign to Support Burma Refugees



Refugees who fled Burma wait for the Thai authorities to conduct a census at Mae La refugee camp, near the Thai-Burma border in Mae Sot, Tak province, on July 21, 2014. (Photo: Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters)

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND—Well-known Thai actor Saharat “Kong” Sangkapricha and actress and model Priya “Pu” Suandokmai have joined a UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) fundraising project that highlights the plight of Burma’s displaced in Thailand.

The campaign, called “Namjai for Refugees,” aims to assist over 120,000 Burmese refugees currently living in nine camps on Thai-Burma border; “namjai” is the Thai word for “generosity.”

Iain Hall, the senior field coordinator for the UNHCR in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, told The Irrawaddy that the project is part of the UN agency’s ongoing fundraising efforts, which in this case are directed towards the Thai public.

Donations from the Namjai campaign will go toward improving and rebuilding the lives of Burmese refugees, some of whom have lived in the border camps for over 30 years since fleeing civil war and persecution in Burma.

Pu and her team visited Burmese refugees on the Thai border to better learn about their lives.

“The global refugee crisis is dominating news headlines. As Thai people, we can be part of the global response by starting to lend our support to refugees in Thailand,” actress and model Pu is quoted as saying in a UNHCR report.

In the same report, Thai singer Kong also promised to use his musical talent to work with songwriter Van to compose a song that appeals to people’s generosity and will support child refugees in particular.

“I hope that this song will inspire Thai people to extend our namjai to fellow human beings,” he said.

The project was launched earlier this year and has been endorsed by eight Thai celebrities. As part of the Namjai campaign, the UNHCR has also produced a short video about the plight of refugee children in Thailand, entitled, “The Life of Pa Thu.”