In January 1999 Prospect Burma launched a new series of newsletters for our supporters, to give them an insight into what was going on in the country. This extract is from the first edition, and is from a Karen scholarship applicant living in Thailand. 

“The troops came three times [to our village], the first time we could not flee because of no warning. When they arrived my two friends and I hid in an old woman’s house. The old lady concealed us with rice sacks from the soldiers who were searching for people to use as porters. The second time the soldiers come, we have time to flee. So students and teachers carried our books, food and clothes deep into the jungle where we stayed for a few weeks. News came that the soldiers took everything. We heard some of the villagers lost their lives and properties. The next year I went to another village…..[then] the [army] Four Cuts Operation started in my area.

The Burmese troops came and destroyed everything.

Many people that year found it hard to survive the starvation because of the Burmese troops looting. I could not finish my Grade 9, everybody had to struggle to survive…..I tried to find my way to the border area. Due to my willing to study I have been apart from my parents for many years and hope to see them one day, but have heard they passed away when their ages only 54. I still hope and wait for to get chance for further study and one day to become an educated person that can help my people and country more effectively……When there is genuine peace in Burma I will return and participate in the educational department and do the best I can. I know there are many places which really need qualified teachers.”