In the previous entry we mentioned the free medical clinic that both the father and mother of the Burmese family used. This clinic in Mae Sot is the Mae Tao Clinic also known as “Dr. Cynthia’s Clinic.” You can check out the clinic here at maetaoclinic.com. It was founded by Dr. Cynthia Maung during the re 1988 to serve the Burmese immigrant community, but is open to anyone who needs care. This small clinic offers extraordinary services to these struggling people. Some of these include: pediatric and adult outpatient clinics, inpatient facilities, surgery, maternity and sexual health services, dental offices, free medication and vaccinations, and prosthetics fittings, a pretty amazing feat to provide such extensive treatments at such a humble clinic. They do not stop there—if they cannot meet the needs of a patient, they will transfer them to the city hospital and cover the costs of the patient’s medical expenses. If only health care could be like this for everyone. This clinic is the only access to healthcare this community has, yet for some it is still too costly just to get there.
Another organization meeting the needs of the Burmese people in a different way is a social service group called the “People’s Volunteer Association.” They are a grass roots organization made up of individuals who tried to stage a revolution against the oppressive Myanmar government and now are serving the people of Mae Sot. The People’s Volunteer Association functions a little like a neighborhood citizens’ watch, whose mission includes aiding the Thai police in settling disputes, providing refugee care, mediating domestic abuse issues, labor rights, health and education issues, and, really, to help solve migrants’ problems any way they can.
This area is home to many abused women and children who have been left homeless to fend for themselves. This group adopts them and helps them get through their misfortune by providing them with help towards a better future. One woman our team spoke with had been abused and beaten by her husband. She suffered a severe head injury from his attacks and was abandoned along with their 3-year-old son for another woman. She is one of the many who has been left in a desperate situation. She is living in a small garage space with her in-laws who feel responsible for what their son has done to his family. She constantly is leaving work early because of dizziness that occurs since her husband’s attack. Her beautiful boy is young enough that hopefully he will not be as affected by the misdeeds of his father, and rather know the strength of his mother.
With all the suffering that many of these immigrant families endure it is good to know that there are places like the Mae Tao Clinic and People’s Volunteer Association working to create a real difference in their lives.