Angelo Merendino Photography
Photographer - Cleveland, OH

The Refugee Response

The Refugee Response

"My name is Hsar Lar Doe.  I am 32 years old.  I was born in Gee Lo,  a small village in the Burma countryside;  my family were farmers.  My village was a "Dark Zone:"  The soldiers didn’t need permission to kill villagers.  I was four years old when my father was killed by Burmese soldiers who suspected that our village was giving food to the rebel forces.  I didn’t see it happen and I only remember him from a picture.  I cannot say what his real face looks like.   

In 1995 my younger brother,  Kree Kre,  and I left the village with our grandparents;  we went to a refugee camp located on the border of Burma and Thailand.  Everybody wanted to go to the camp,  but there is not enough room,  so parents often stay behind.  It was hard to say goodbye to my mom.

I lived in the refugee camp for nearly 15 years.  The camp was controlled by the Thai authorities.  They gave us a little bit of food and told us to stay inside the camp.  We did not have any chance to find money or work outside of the camp.  You don’t have any rights or freedom inside the refugee camp; life was really like being in a cage."

Excerpt from story originally posted at