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Thramu-Say-MehThramu Say Meh (centre) helps with the digging of the burial ground. Photo: Bangkok Post

Heartbreak and Heroes: Fire at Karenni Refugee Camp

'These Are My Heroes'

By Mitos Urgel - Executive Director of WEAVE, 26th March 2013

Silently Digging Graves

"Thramu Say Meh silently cried and took the hoe and started digging. I was just blown away seeing her and feeling her strength and resilience."

I was beyond words to witness the kind of generosity expressed by Thramu Say Meh.

Thramu Say Meh - Early Childhood Development Officer for WEAVE - is a Karenni from the camp that was devastated by the ragting fire that killed 37 camp residents and left 2,300 homeless. Her parent's house was completely burned down to the ground and her family lost most of their belongings.

Her solidarity is just extremely amazing. Giving so much - despite confronting her grief, confusion and disbelief of what happened to her camp - helping individual families and comforting them, facilitating expressive arts therapy to children, supporting in the distribution of food, finding out the situation of the nursery school teachers and their families and ensuring that they get services that they need and this act of digging the burial ground.

She was the only woman who worked with the men in the digging. While all the rest of the women are breaking down seeing the dead bodies of their love ones, husbands, wives, sons daugthers, relatives, friends and neighbours being prepared for the burial, Say Meh silently cried and took the hoe and started digging. I was just blown away during that time seeing her and feeling her strength and resilience.

Teacher Died Saving Children

"People were shouting to Tar Soe Soe and telling him to stop, that the fire is already too big, but he was very determined to go back and save more children."

Thra-Tar-Soe-SoeI deeply mourn the passing of Thra Tar Soe Soe, a middle school teacher in the Karenni Camp2 and alumni of the Karenni Further Studies Program (a WEAVE supported program).

Forever helpful and prioritizing the needs of others have always been the trademark of Tar Soe Soe, even up to his death during the fire that ravaged Camp2.

Thra Tar Soe Soe managed to save two children but unable to make it with the third child when they were engulfed by the thick smoke and fire.

I overhear his former classmates in KnFSP saying that people were shouting to Tar Soe Soe and telling him to stop, that the fire is already too big, but he was very determined to go back and save more children.