"Nobody wants to be displaced... But because of the circumstance, people have no choice but to leave their home in order to survive, not only for them but also for their children." - Mitos Urgel, executive director of WEAVE.
In an impoverished town in Thailand near the border with Myanmar, a trafficker offered a desperate Burmese widow 5,000 baht (US$160) on the spot, followed by an additional 4,000 baht ($120) per month for two of her 10 children to sell flowers in the Thai capital, Bangkok.
The rent-a-child deal was to last three months, after which the boys would return home.
This event celebrated the milestone of WEAVE's 15 years of successful economic empowerment activities for refugee women artisans.
Over 1,200 artisans have learned valuable skills in weaving, sewing or embroidery. Over 700 women have become regular home-based entrepreneurs, earning much-needed income from customers around the world.
The month of March is usually set to celebrate educational achievements through various graduation events around the world, including the refugees on the Thai-Burma/Myanmar border.
During the 2011-2012 school year, WEAVE worked alongside the Women Study Program (WSP) in Karenni Site 1 to build the capacity of 25 Karenni young girls and women to learn a 10 months course on Women Issues and Development, Peace Education and Conflict Transformation and Community Development.
On March 8, 20112, WEAVE Foundation celebrated with women around the world for International Women's Day.
Over 500 refugee women, young girls, children and men were part of this historic event. They joined in solidarity with the rest women of the world in the "Join Us in the Bridge", the world's largest women's rights solidarity campaign to build peace and hope for our future...
WEAVE - Safe World Field Partner on the Thai-Burma Border:
"The WEAVE handicraft project allowed me to earn a safe and regular income by doing embroidery work. It has not only provided me and my family with the much needed nutritious food and get my children to go to school, but above all, it allowed me to regain my self-worth and self-confidence."
Muga Pado Rollie, Umpiem Mai refugee camp, Thai-Burma border
By Mitos Urgel, Executive Director of WEAVE.
The continued heavy monsoon rains have destroyed people's lives and properties.
Over 10,000 people in two of the four refugee camps in Mae Hong Son Province where WEAVE works were severely affected by the heavy rain and flood.
Many families became homeless and considerable numbers of houses were destroyed by the landslides.
Trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn (aka Jiew), the head of the news website Prachatai, has resumed. Jiew faces 20 years in prison if convicted for the 'lèse-majesté' charges.
My husband's activism affected the interests of more people than those arrested.
But, the ones who stood to lose most from the campaigns, have not been caught.
Chiranuch Premchaiporn, also known as Jiew, is the executive director and news editor for a Thai independent news portal called Prachatai.
Chiranuch is currently facing ten different criminal charges under Thailand's Computer Crime Act, as well as similar criminal code charges. If found guilty, each violation carries a maximum penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment. She is also accused of insulting the monarchy, a particularly serious offence called lèse majesté in Thailand.
Chiranuch was recently named a winner of the International Women's Media Foundation 2011 Courage in Journalism Award and will be officially honoured in Los Angeles and New York in October.