Portland Group Brings Solar Power to Burma's Refugees
Author Edith Mirante & Nonprofit Green Empowerment Bring Recent News and Project Developments from Conflicted Burma
Portland, OR (Oct. 5, 2007) - This Thursday evening at 7:00PM at McCalls Event Center (1020 SW Naito Parkway at Salmon Street in Waterfront Park), author and Project Maje founder Edith Mirante will describe recent events in Burma, and Green Empowerment volunteer Ian Petrich will present about solar trainings he helped lead along the Thailand/Burma border. The event is a unique opportunity to hear a first hand account of recent conditions of Burmese refugees.
Burmese protesting the country's military junta government is not a new occurrence for the indigenous tribal people called the Karen who live in the rural areas of the country. Courageous and determined village medics in Burma's remote regions continue to risk their own lives for communities displaced and then hunted by the junta. Green Empowerment, a Portland-based non-profit, is supporting the medics' efforts by equipping isolated clinics with solar power.
The recent military crackdown visited on peaceful protestors led by Buddhist monks in Burma is the worst bout of mass brutality exhibited by the regime since 1988. Massive human rights abuses such as these highlight the deteriorating economic and human rights conditions inside Burma. Over the last two decades, the dictatorship has forced at least 500,000 people to become internal refugees.
Green Empowerment, a Portland-based organization, is working with its local partner in Thailand to assist internal refugees seeking humanitarian assistance along the rural Thai / Burma border. By helping to train medics working in Burma to provide solar powered electricity for remote health clinics, concerned groups and individuals can radically improve basic conditions for villages caught in the throes of political oppression. An effort that has helped up to 175,000 displaced people in Burma gain access to basic health care is more than just a project; it is a humanistic movement.
Edith Mirante is author of Burmese Looking Glass and Down the Rat Hole: Adventures Underground on Burma's Frontiers and director of Project Maje, an information project on Burma's human rights and environmental issues which has brought news from Burma since 1986. She has conducted research in remote areas of Burma's war zone and has testified on Burma before the U.S. Congress, European Trade Commission, and the International Labor Organization.
Ian Petrich is a volunteer for Green Empowerment who has just returned from Thailand where the most recent phase of the annual trainings has been completed. In April 2007, Green Empowerment and its local partner trained and equipped seven new clinics and provided refresher training and replacement parts for twenty-eight previously supplied medical clinics. After four years of consecutive trainings, all thirty-five clinics proposed have electricity. Each clinic serves 3000-5000 internally displaced people who depend on these remote, spartan clinics for treatment of landmine injuries, infections, and all their medical needs.
To learn more about how renewable energy is providing essential health care environments for Burmese refugees, join Green Empowerment Thursday, October 11 2007 at 7:00PM at McCalls Event Center, located inside Waterfront Park next to Salmon Street Fountain (1020 SW Naito Parkway at Salmon Street).