International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Sarah Wayne Callies in Thailand, day 2

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 second day of her visit. (Posted March 27, 2012)

Watch Day 1  l  Watch Day 3  l  Read Sarah's blogs from Thailand

Video Transcript

Hello. I’m Sarah Wayne Callies and I’m an IRC Voice.
So today was day two. We went to the women’s protection and empowerment program, which was pretty extraordinary.  

It’s run by a woman named Mubi who is one of the more remarkable individuals that I have ever met. We spoke today about issues of shame, issues of stigma. There is a great need for counseling and for services for women who are experiencing domestic violence and rape.  
And in a camp there is depression among communities that are feeling bored and underutilized, and frustrated and stagnating -- which can lead to alcoholism, which can lead to spouse abuse. 
So if one of the greatest challenges facing a refugee population is disenfranchisement from meaningful work, one of the solutions that is kind of brilliant is that they are hiring refugees to help the refugees. It’s an opportunity for people, I think, to feel that they are contributing to their community and that they are growing and that they are learning. 

We all want to be independent. We all want to support ourselves. And being deprived of that opportunity, I think, starts to really sort of twist people’s souls. These are issues endemic to a refugee population -- especially one that has been so stuck without a country, so stuck between worlds for so long.

To learn more about the IRC’s livesaving work, go to
Thanks to a volunteer for transcribing this video.