Written by Asia Regional Director, Gabe Wynn
A mere two hours from the peaceful border town of Mae Sot lies the Karen refugee community of Lay Kay Kaw.
In this and other Karen refugee villages, what many consider to be the basic staples of everyday life – electricity, clean water, and healthcare – are still considered luxuries that few can afford. Some 140,000 Karen live in refugee camps, and the number of those that are homeless is estimated to be almost three times as many. The Karen have endured over half a century of conflict, after civil war broke out between the Burmese government and their own.
The Border Green Energy Team (BGET) and Green Empowerment have been working together for almost 20 years to bring clean energy to clinics that the Karen people rely on for basic healthcare. Lighting from these small solar PV systems ensures that the clinics can operate with access to adequate communication, lighting and, when necessary, refrigeration for medicines.
In early January, a small team of BGET engineers and Green Empowerment’s Asia Regional Director, Gabe Wynn, traveled to the village of Lay Kay Kaw to install a solar PV system for the local clinic, while providing training to 15 participants from other clinics from other outlying Karen villages.