"brain food" - Series on the Chin refugee Children of Burma living in Malaysia by Colinizing  Photography with Colin Boyd Shafer

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"brain food" - Series on the Chin refugee Children of Burma living in Malaysia by 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

at lunch everyone gets a small portion of rice and egg

these students will then go home, so the afternoon children can come (at least this way they go home with full stomachs as their parents may not have the means to feeding them)

These children are jam packed into a small school house ages ranging from 5 – 16. Even though they are Burmese refugees Malaysia does not offer them the basic human right of education. They can not attend public school. Luckily schools like this one are put in place by philanthropists who care and want these children to grow up productively with the possibility of bettering thier lives. This school was small, and always in need of volunteers. If anyone wants to make a donation or go and volunteer at this particular school I would be more than happy to put you in contact with the person in charge

-Canon EOS Rebel XT, Tokina 11-14mm


Burmese refugees and asylum seekers started running to Malaysia more than 20 years ago and the number has increased since then. Currently, there are more than 60,000 Burmese refugees registered with UNHCR but thousands more are unregistered.

Between 2002 to 2008, more than 4,800 Burmese were whipped for immigration offences.

In 2008, 812 Burmese children were detained in immigration detention centres.

In May 2009, two Burmese asylum seekers died at the Juru detention centre due to Leptospirosis, a disease linked to contamination of food or water. In August/September 2009, another six Burmese died due to suspected Leptospirosis.

In Malaysia, many refugees live in poverty. They have difficulties finding jobs due to their illegal status. Even when they can find jobs, they are usually underpaid and vulnerable to abuse from unscrupulous employers.

Refugee children do not have access to public schools. As such, generations of uneducated refugees are being raised here in Malaysia.

As refugees remain unrecognized by the Malaysian Government, they live in constant fear of raids, arrest and detention. Conditions in detention centres face continuous problems of overcrowding, unhygienic conditions, malnourishment and ill-treatment of detainees. Once detained, they never know when they will be released. Many have died in detention centres.

They cannot go back to Burma for fear of their lives, and yet everyday they live in fear here.




children, pain, burma, myanmar, volunteer, student, teaching, malaysia, charity, refugees, education, chin, amnesty, colinizing, human rights, colin boyd shafer, basic needs

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