As published with Democratic Voice of Burma. View original here.
It’s 9am on a Tuesday, and the usual noisiness that accompanies school mornings rings out across the village of Do Ki Ta.
Ranging in age from late teens to early twenties, the students of the Karenni National Community College (KNCC) make their way from the Burmese refugee camp of Ban Nai Soi, located on the Thai side of the eastern Burmese border, to their classrooms.
Some have walked for an hour and a half to get to school. Others have come on motorbikes, a 45 to 50-minute journey across muddy, uneven roads which are dangerously flooded during the monsoon season.
Lucky students like 20-year-old Nyereh are housed in one of the college’s few bamboo hostels dotted about the village. But now that Burma’s ethnic rebels are in the final stages of signing a ceasefire agreement with government, talks of repatriation are echoing through the refugee camps along the border, and it is unsure how long they can remain there.