Kwah Dao has been working with Burmese Shan migrants in northern Thailand for 13 years now. Starting in the 1980s, these families migrated to Thailand in search of a better life free of violence. Unlike other ethnic minorities from Burma, though, the Shan are not afforded ‘refugee status’ and have joined the growing population of stateless people around the world. Lacking citizenship to any country, many in the communities we serve live in a tenuous and unstable situation lacking protection by any government or international body. Without anyone to hold accountable to ensure their human rights, the Shan face the constant threat and reality of exploitation.
Through our work, Kwah Dao strives to respond to the needs of the stateless and vulnerable Shan communities and equip them with the foundational skills, knowledge and confidence to expand their opportunities despite their legal restrictions. With the recent democratic changes in Myanmar, we recognize those we work with will have differing plans for the future. We hope to enable each individual to achieve their aspirations wherever they choose to reside.
Through our initiatives, research and advocacy work, we endeavor to both empower Burmese Shan migrants on the ground and call attention to the plight of the stateless around the world. We hope that our work will promote human rights reform to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in Thailand, Myanmar and beyond.