International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Sarah Wayne Callies in Thailand, day 1

Actress and IRC Voice Sarah Wayne Callies recently visited Thai camps on the border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, where the International Rescue Committee assists Burmese refugees who have fled conflict and economic hardship at home. Here are some of her impressions from the first day of her visit.  (Published March 26, 2012)

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Video Transcript

Hello, I’m Sarah Wayne Callies and I’m an IRC Voice.
It’s pretty extraordinary. We’re in Thailand, near the border with Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma.
It’s my first time ever in a refugee camp.  And what I walked into was essentially a village that’s been more or less 20 years in the making.
Once of the reasons that today had so much meaning for me — getting to be at the women’s and children’s healthcare clinic — is that there is a family that we care for in Atlanta,  and they are resettled refugees from these camps on Thai-Burma border.
 And the mother is a midwife. She’d come to camp as a young girl. She’d been there for, I think, close to 15 years. She’d done the midwifery training, and then she’d been delivering babies. And I got to talk to her counterpart: a woman who delivers, I think they said, about 30 babies a month.
They are doing a huge amount with not very much. And they seem to be doing it brilliantly. It’s humane care that is the kind of care that every woman deserves and there are so many women all over the world so deprived of it.
It was – it was a pleasant place to be.  Now, obviously it is populated by people who are people without a country and they don’t have a right to work and … they can’t make a life for their family so I am certainly not trying to paint a picture of a place that anyone would choose to live.
But I was proud to be coming on behalf of an organization that has worked so hard to create humane living conditions for this group of people. And they’ve knocked it out of the park. They really did.
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