Medical assistance is inaccessible to many people living in Burma because of the high cost of treatment and lack of free healthcare. There are also an estimated 2 million Burmese people living in Thailand unable to access the Thai healthcare system.
BCMF is one of the few organizations that has a strong enough relationship with the relevant Thai authorities to facilitate the transportation to and treatment of Burmese people at Thai hospitals.
Kyin is a 48-year-old woman who lives with her daughter, her friend, and her friend's family in a village in northern Thailand. Kyin’s daughter and her friend’s two children study at a migrant school. Kyin used to work as an agricultural day laborer, but stopped two months ago when her vision deteriorated. In her free time, Kyin likes to garden and clean her house. Kyin has lost most of the vision in both of her eyes. Sometimes her eyes are watery and itchy, and if she tries to focus on identifying someone’s face, her eyes will hurt and she will develop a headache. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Kyin. On June 7th, doctors will perform a lens replacement in both eyes, during which they will remove Kyin's natural lenses and replace them with intraocular lens implants. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Kyin shared, “I hope that I will get better soon so that I can go back to work. I want to support my daughter so that she becomes an educated person. I also want to build a new house and live with my daughter happily for the rest of my life.”
Lah is a 50-year-old woman from Thailand who lives with her husband and her daughter in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. Lah is a homemaker, and her daughter is a middle school student. Her husband cannot work since he was in an accident six years ago. Her neighbor pays for her daughter’s school fees and in return, Lah shares vegetables that she grows with her neighbors. Her family receives about $35 per month on a cash card, but this income is not enough to cover their daily needs. In her free time, Lah loves praying at home and she enjoys going to church every Sunday. Starting from 2018, Lah has been experiencing dizziness, back pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, and lower abdomen pain every day. If she sits for a longer period of time, she has difficulty standing up due to the back pain. Lah cannot walk longer distances because of the pain in her lower abdomen and back. Lah has been diagnosed with myoma uteri, and is advised to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy. If left untreated, Lah's symptoms will continue to worsen and put her at risk for further health complications in the future. Fortunately, Lah is scheduled to undergo her hysterectomy on June 16th. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Once she is fully recovered, Lah will no longer experience pain in her back and abdomen and will be able to sit and walk without difficulty. Lah said, “I am so happy that my condition is treatable. I will be able to live with my family for a longer time. Now that I know donors may help pay for my treatment, I would like to thank them in advance for helping me. I want to live long, and look after my daughter and my husband. I prayed and God has answered my prayers, so I am very thankful to God and your organization who helped find donors for me.”
Paw is a 24-year-old woman from Thailand. Originally from Burma, Paw, her husband, their three daughters and her parents fled in March 2021 after the Burmese military shot rockets into their village. In Thailand, as refugees, they cannot work, and have temporarily moved in with Paw's brother and his family. They receive rice from her brother's neighbors, while her brother's family provides them with vegetables and curries. In July 2021, Paw's parents and her two older daughters went back to their village when they felt it was safe to do so. Meanwhile, her husband and her three-month-old baby have stayed with her while she receives treatment in Chiang Mai. Two years ago, Paw noticed a mass on the right side of her neck. Her neighbor suggested she apply a natural remedy, but unfortunately, the mass remained and grew over time. In September 2019, she visited a local hospital in Thailand with her husband, but the surgery recommended was too expensive. She experiences pain near the site of the mass, and the mass is still growing. Paw sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). She is scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on August 16th, and now she needs to raise $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care. Paw shared, “I felt embarrassed and very upset when I first noticed that I had this problem. I will feel a lot better after my surgery because I have needed to receive it since I first went to see the doctor in 2019. In the future I want to look after my children and send them to school.”
Taw is a 43-year-old teacher. She and her husband work at the same Bible school and their daughter is enrolled in that school's nursery program. In her free time, she enjoys singing and reading with her students. She enjoys growing organic vegetables at home, and growing her own vegetables helps reduce household expenses. On August 19th, Taw was walking home with part of a banana tree she had just cut down for her family's dinner. It was drizzling and the dirt road was slippery. She slipped and fell, breaking both bones in her left forearm. She experiences pain that worsens when she moves her arm. She is worried about being admitted to a hospital for surgery, because she has never been admitted to a hospital before. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Taw will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for August 20th and will cost $1,500. This procedure will help Taw's arm heal properly. She will no longer be in pain and she will be able to go back to school and look after her daughter. Taw shared, "I hope this treatment will allow me to go back to work and take care of my daughter again."
Naw Eh is a 11-year-old girl who lives with her mother, five brother and two sisters in a refugee camp. She and her siblings study in the refugee camp while her mother weaves traditional indigenous Karen shirts to earn extra income for their household. In her free time, Naw Eh loves to play with her younger brother at home. Sometimes, she will play with her friends close to her house. She wants to be an English teacher at a primary school in the future. In late July 2021, Naw Eh went out to buy some snacks from a shop. On the way to the shop, she slipped and fell on the muddy road. When she fell she hurt her left leg. Since she was able to walk slowly, the medic in the camp did not think her leg was broken and only gave her pain medication. On 19 August 2021, Naw Eh lost her grip when she was sitting down in a chair and fell down. This time she could not stand up or walk. After a doctor at Mae Sariang Hospital diagnosed her with a fractured femur, she was referred to Chiang Mai Hospital for further treatment. At that hospital, the doctor told Naw Eh's brother that they want to do an MRI of her leg to check if she has any underlying conditions that caused her to break her femur so easily. With support from Watsi, the MRI was possible and now the surgeon has determined that surgery is required to help her leg heal properly. Currently, Naw Eh suffers from pain in her left leg and she cannot move or put weight on that leg. If she moves her leg, the pain increases. Her brother needs to help her use the bedpan as she cannot walk to the toilet. He also needs to help her get dressed. She is taking pain medication to help her sleep at night. She is worried that if her condition is not treated properly, she will never be able to walk again. She misses going to school and wants to continue her studies in grade four once her school reopens. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Naw Eh will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for September 2nd and will cost $1,500. After surgery, Naw Eh will no longer experience pain in her leg and she will be able to get herself dress and be able to walk to the toilet. Naw Eh said, "I am worried that if I do not receive surgery and receive proper treatment, I will not be able to walk again."
Taw is a 43-year-old teacher who lives with her family in the refugee camp. Taw and her husband work at the same school and their daughter is also enrolled there in the nursery program. In her free time, Taw enjoys singing and reading with her students. Taw also loves to grow vegetables around her house, and she is very proud that the vegetables she grows are organic. Growing her own vegetables also helps to reduce her household expenses. Last month, Taw was walking home with a branch from a banana tree she had just cut down to cook for dinner. That afternoon it was drizzling and the dirt road was slippery. Taw slipped and fell onto her left arm, breaking both bones in her left forearm. With the help of Watsi donors, she underwent surgery to insert a metal rod into her forearm at the end of August at Chiang Mai Hospital. A few days after her surgery, Taw's wound got an infection and the doctor had to perform another surgery to remove the rod from her arm. Once the infection cleared up with the help of antibiotics, the doctor scheduled another surgery to have the rod reinserted into Taw's arm to finally help her heal. Taw’s left arm is still in pain. She is in pain whenever she sits down, and the pain increases when she moves her arm. If she lies down and puts her left arm on a pillow, she feels better. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, Taw will undergo surgery to reset her fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure is scheduled for September 7th and will cost $1,500. After the procedure, Taw will no longer be in pain and she will be able to go back home and see her family. She will be able to teach again and garden like before. Taw said, "I really miss my family and my daughter. I hope that I will receive proper treatment and be able to go back home again soon."
Ar is a 28-year-old man who lives with his wife, three sons, and two daughters in a refugee camp. Originally from Burma, his family fled to Thailand 20 years ago due to civil war. His children attend school, except for his youngest daughter, who is not yet old enough. His wife is a homemaker and Ar works as a day laborer when work is available. Ar's family shared that, in addition to his day laborer pay, they receive a monthly cash card from The Border Consortium to purchase food in the refugee camp. Overall, the family's total monthly income is just enough to cover their basic needs. On September 2nd, Ar climbed a tamarind tree to pick tamarinds fruit. When the branch he was standing on suddenly broke, he fell and landed on his right arm and experienced pain in his back. He visited the camp hospital that day, and the medic initially determined that his arm was not broken. Due to recent positive COVID-19 cases in the refugee camp, Ar could not be immediately referred to the local hospital for further testing and was kept for observation at the camp hospital. When the pain in Ar's back and arm did not subside the next day, the medic referred Ar to the local hospital. After receiving a negative COVID-19 test, Ar was finally able to visit the hospital on September 6th, where he received an X-ray for his arm and a blood test for a second COVID-19 test. The X-ray revealed that his upper right arm is broken. With the help of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), Ar will undergo surgery on September 8th to reset his fractured bones and ensure proper healing. The procedure will enable Ar to continue working in the future. BCMF is requesting $1,500 to fund this procedure. Ar shared, "I am scared to receive surgery. But I was told that I will not be able to work using my right arm if I do not receive surgery, so I gave my consent to the doctor. I hope that I will be able to work again after I receive treatment."
Ma Nwe is a 33-year-old woman who lives with her husband and two daughters in Burma. Her eldest daughter goes to school, while she looks after the youngest daughter at home. Her husband is a day laborer, but unfortunately, due to economic difficulties brought on by COVID-19 and the military coup in Burma, her husband cannot find work every day. The income he earns is not enough to cover the family's daily expenses or pay for basic health care. Two weeks ago, Ma Nwe was boiling water and sitting near the stove while her daughter played nearby. Her daughter accidentally bumped into the pot on the stove, causing it to spill the boiling water on Ma Nwe's left foot. Right away, Ma Nwe ran cold water over her foot and applied chicken fat to her burnt skin. The next day, she went to see a traditional healer who applied medicine to her foot. However, her foot has become infected and she has developed an ulcer. She is in pain and has difficulty sleeping. Due to her injury, she cannot look after her daughters or do household chores. Ma Nwe's husband’s grandmother recommended that she visit our medical partner's care center. On September 2nd, Ma Nwe visited the care center of our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF), for treatment. There, the doctor examined her foot, drained her ulcer, and ordered a blood test. Since her foot is badly infected, the doctor recommended that she undergo a wound debridement as soon as possible. Ma Nwe will have the procedure on September 9th. Now, she needs help to raise $694 to fund her procedure and care. Ma Nwe shared, "I want to recover as quickly as possible so that I can be with my daughters again. I want to play with them."
Thidar is a 43-year-old woman who lives with her husband and two daughters in Burma. She is a homemaker while her two daughters are students. However, the school in their village is closed due to the teachers being on strike following the country's coup earlier this year. Thidar was diagnosed with diabetes 13 years ago, and recently noticed that her toe on her left foot was becoming black. After visiting a local clinic, Thidar was diagnosed with having an ulcer and was prescribed medication as treatment. Unfortunately, the ulcer was not responding to medication and various treatments. Thidar then was advised to visit an hospital where the doctor's further noticed more of her toes were swollen and black as well. Thidar was diagnosed with gangrene, a rare infection where blood flow does not reach your extremities. Our medical partner, the Burma Children Medical Fund is requesting $694 for surgery on Thidar's foot to treat the gangrene. Currently, Thidar is in pain especially at night. She is unable to sleep well and is worried about her foot and her family's financial situation. She told us, "In the future I want to open a shop in my home,” she said. “Thank you so much to all the donors and supporters.”
Eh Eh is a 24-year-old woman who lives with husband, daughter, sister and parents in a refugee camp in northern Thailand. She got married three years ago and her husband works at the pharmacy in the refugee camp. He is able to earn 900 baht (approx. $30 USD) per month to support their livelihoods. Her parents are retired, and her sister is in school in grade 11. Eh Eh works for the Camp Information Team and earns 1,000 baht (approx. $30.33 USD) per month. Their household also receives 1,662 baht ($55.40 USD) per month on a cash card from an organisation called The Border Consortium. Eh Eh became pregnant soon after her wedding in 2018. When she went into labour, she was unable to give birth due to her daughter being too big to fit through her pelvis. Malteser International (MI) staff, who run the hospital in the refugee camp, rushed her to Mae Sariang Hospital, where the surgeon performed an emergency C-section to deliver Eh Eh's daughter. On 28 December 2020, Eh Eh found out she was pregnant again. Due to her previous complications during labour, MI staff referred her to Mae Sariang Hospital for further care while she wis in her 39th week. Knowing that she will need to undergo another C-section, and that she cannot afford to pay for it, Eh Eh was referred to our medical partner, the Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance accessing the treatment she needs for a safe delivery for her and her new baby. Currently, although Eh Eh feels fine physically, she has mixed emotions about the surgery. She is worried and scared about undergoing the operation but she is excited to meet her baby. She shared: “I can cope with the worry because I have experienced this before, and because my husband will take care of me,” she said. “I just really hope that my operation will go well, and that baby will be safe."
Myint is a 57-year-old man who lives by himself in a village in Burma. His wife lives in Thailand, but since she lost her work due to COVID-19, she hasn't been able to send back money for basic things like she usually does. They are in a hard postion because she also cannot come back to Burma because she doesn’t feel safe because of civil war that has started. Myint is a day labourer who earns 3,000 kyat (approx. 3 USD) per day. His monthly income of 100,000 kyat (approx. 100 USD) is not enough to cover his daily expenses nor pay for basic health care. Last month, Myint went out fishing and he caught a catfish. While he tried to hang the fish, the catfish fell onto his left instep. The catfish’s fin which is poisonous injured his left instep. He went to small clinic and got treatment. But his wound did not improve and instead he had swelling and it become infected. The village clinic doctor told him if the wound is not improve to go to see the specialist. Since he didn't have money, Myint went to visit a monk to seek the treatment. The monk gave him traditional medicine (an herb) for the wound. However, after using the traditional medicine for one month, his foot continued to worsen. Eventually, his friend recommended that he seek treatment at Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH). At the hospital, the doctor examined his foot and saw that he had developed an ulcer. The doctor said that they would need to perform surgery on his ulcer to clean it properly and remove any damaged or necrotic tissue. When Myint told the doctor he had no money to pay for the surgery, the doctor referred him to our Medical Partner Burma Children Medical Fund for assistance accessing further treatment. Currently, Myint’s left foot is swollen and the skin around his ulcer is discoloured. He cannot sleep well at night due to the pain. He also has difficulty sleeping due to worrying about his foot and his economic situation. He is worried that if his leg has to be amputated, he will not be able to earn money to support his family. He's trying to remain hopeful and told us, “In the future I would like to grow and sell mushrooms so that I can support my family financially.”
Bo is a 16-year-old student. He's in eighth grade and lives in the school dormitory in the Tak Province during the school year. His parents and his siblings live on the Thai-Burma border. His brother and his mother are day labourers while his father is retired. During his free time, he likes to play the guitar, cook, and garden. In May 2021, Bo began to experience pain in the top of his left arm, close to his shoulder. In June 2021, the top of his left arm began to swell until it spread towards his shoulder. The swelling is now very large, encompassing his left shoulder and upper arm. Bo is in a lot of pain and cannot use his left arm. He cannot lift it, nor carry anything due to the pain and the swelling. Bo sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. Bo is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on August 18th. He is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. "I want to become a policeman one day but I do not know if this will be possible," said Bo.