Tribal minorities in Burma (now called "Myanmar") have been the target of
brutal oppression by the government for more than fifty years. The reasons
are complex, but at least a part of the antipathy is based upon the higher
proportion of Christians among the minority groups, especially the Karen and
Kachin. During the past 2-3 decades many thousands of the Karen tribe,
majority Christian, have escaped the killings, rape, torture, and destruction
of property by crossing the border into Thailand where they are confined in
seven large refugee camps near the borer. Currently the largest of these
camps houses over 44,000 refugees, a sprawling jungle camp north of
Mae Sot, called Mae La.
In the Mae La camp there is a Bible school which currently has nearly 600
students, about half studying in the Karen-language track, and the other half
in English. The circumstances are austere, but the students are highly
motivated, and served by a dedicated faculty with training and experience
providing quality education. Photos show classroom scenes, as well as the
"laundry" and cafeteria.
Over the past twenty years INCOR has assisted with student support, funding
for food and supplies, and funding for visiting faculty. INCOR Board members
have gone to provide teaching and encouragement, as recently as Spring 2015.
The needs are great, and the resources are limited. The main facility burned
to the ground in 2013, but has been rebuilt and is in full operation. The
current need is to rebuild the "boys' dorm," which is pictured here in one
stage of repair.
INCOR has had the privilege of addressing this opportunity to serve oppressed
young people, and to further the Christian education of people who manifest
remarkable dignity and motivation despite desperate circumstances. Almost
every refugee tells of family members abused or killed, sometimes in most
brutal fashion, by the ruthless government forces. But the situation has now
existed for so long that some of the students were actually born in the camp,
and thus have no legal citizenship or documents allowing exit from the camp
or emigration to one of the countries now accepting entry elsewhere in