Kataerina, 35 years old, from Pyin Soung village in southern Shan State, Myanmar (Part 2/2)
Kataerina finally left her village and came to the Thailand-Burma border because of the conflict in the area. On the border, she met her husband-to-be. The couple got married in 2007 and soon after Kataerina gave birth to their first child. In 2009, she moved to Nai Soi Camp with her family. The only way to be in contact with her parents for nearly ten years now, has been through asking for news from people who have travelled from her village to Thailand. But she has never heard good news, and she thinks there is no change in her village. “I want them to change the policy in the county because if we go back to our village, when we speak out about something that is wrong, they just punish us or even kill us. That’s why the villagers don’t dare to speak out.” Nai Soi Camp has over 11,000 residents, most of whom are ethnic Karenni. The camp is only four kilometers away from the Burma border and has been attacked by Burmese troops and their allies in 1997 and 1998. Surrounding the camp is a landmine field. Kataerina has stayed in the camp for six years and two of her children were born there. Kataerina does housework and feeds pigs in her free time and her husband sometimes works in the fields outside the camp. She attended sewing training and finished the basic level and says the skills are enough to sew clothes, and thus she hopes to attend a higher level sewing training. In the future, she wants to make a living by sewing and selling clothes. “Currently, I am alright. But I don’t have much money like other people. They have phones or bikes. Some people can earn money for their children. But for me, I just have to be satisfied with the rations I get.” When asked about what she wants to change in the camp, Kataerina names the age limits for trainings and jobs as the most important issue.