Phar Eh's Internship at Studio Xang

Phar Eh at the Studio Xang Teacher exhibition in November 2010
My dreams (while I was in Mae La Oon)


While I was in Mae La Oon, I mainly studied for my basic education. I was a student, so I did try to study. My duty was just to pass the 10th standard exam (end of high school certificate). 

I not only tried to study my lessons but also helped the children who were learning art at my school with the Studio Xang program. My friend also encouraged me to learn art works regularly. I decided to study art subject because of the encouragement from my friends and teachers. 
Then I got the opportunity to do an internship with Studio Xang. As my parents wanted me to go back to my village in Karen State, Burma, after I finished high school to teach, this internship would help become more of a teacher.

Before I came to Chiang Mai, I had many thoughts such as “how would I go there?”, “what would I do?” , “what would I study?”, and “what would I get back from studying from art subject?”. I was confused with the issues such as “how would I deal with art teachers?”, “how would I understand Thai as I don’t speak it?” and “who would teach Thai to me?”.

 Any way, I hoped that I would be able to draw and mix the colors skillfully if I stayed in Chiang Mai for sometime.

I decided that I would teach all I had learnt in Chiang Mai to the children in Mae La Oon. 

Art Subjects and other classes I attended in Chiang Mai
I studied how to use computer and attended other classes in Chiang Mai. I got both knowledge and experience. I did many art works that I have never done before. I think that is one of the changes. The classes that I attended were very flexible. I didn’t know about the outside world when I was in Mae La Oon. I knew about another enviroment when I stayed in Chiang Mai. 

I had a chance to speak frankly in the classes. And I could not only express my opinion but also learn other’s ideas. I learnt many art works. Some of the art works were really hard for me to understand. Before I came to Chiangmai, I thought that drawing picture was the only type of art work.

I learnt there were many kinds of art works, while I doing my internship. With Pi Max and the volunteer teachers, I did many art works, and many of these I had never done before.   I was very pleased we made art works together. 

With volunteers at a field trip to the swimming pool
 As for me, these art works were very amazing. I didn’t understand some of the art works due to the language barrier. In my opinion, the art works that I learnt will be easily forgotten if  I don’t use or practice again. 
Sorting children work after teaching
We have a saying: "A knife can be rusted if isn’t used for long time". We cannot be successful if we don’t apply what we learnt. So we have to use our art works that we’ve learnt. I not only had the chance to get involved with the Power Kid project but also teach the children weekly in different areas. 
Beginning to research for Power Kid jewelry workshop
The wishes that are not fulfilled yet:
Phar Eh favorite things, a computer and a telephone
 Being able to use computer is quite important for my life. But I didn’t have a chance to study as much as I want. I didn’t understand some of the art works due to the language barrier.

Advantages of the internship
- Knowing many kinds of art works
- Understanding about environment
- Getting friends who are interested in arts
- Having self- confidence
- Learning  to teach children
Thanks to all teachers who taught me. I’ll purposefully use that I learnt. I hope I can learn more art works on the regular basis. 

Phar Eh went back to Mae La Oon refugee camp. Until now he had not been able to go back to his village because of the current fighting. He looked for a job but there are very little opportunities in the camp. He tried to apply for a position as a courier. Couriers climb up and down the mountain to bring messages for the resettlement offices. He call us recently and he is thinking about applying for resettlement to a third country.  The latest news is that he has gone back to his village to see his family for the first time in 3yrs. 

View from the river, Yaung Ni Oo School is also close to the river

 Mae La Oon refugee camp is closed to foreign visitors at present because fighting between the Karen army and the Burmese government army. The camp is closed because the fighting is so close that the authorities fear that shells might land into the camp from across the river. People living in the camp are very worried but nothing has been arranged for them. 

A recent article in the Irrawaddy magazine illustrates the dilemma of resettlement:

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