Burma (Myanmar) has one of the most protracted refugee situations in the world. Over a million Burmese, mostly ethnic groups in the country’s borderlands, have fled persecution and human rights abuses that have spanned decades.
The violence began with an uprising against military rule in 1949, and has since been met with targeted campaigns against ethnic civilians. The result has been ongoing persecution of minorities, particularly in rural areas where armed opposition continues.
Hundreds of thousands of Burmese have sought safety in refugee camps in nearby Thailand, while hundreds of thousands remain internally displaced. Many have witnessed killings and entire villages being burned to the ground, while others have spent years on the move in search of a haven.
When we first opened our studio in the fall of 2010, we learned there is a sizeable community of refugees from Burma in the Springfield, MA area. Moo Kho was one of the first candle-makers we reached out to, and 7 years later is still with us.
English and previous work experience are not required at Prosperity Candle to earn a living wage – simply a desire to learn the art of candle-making. But for quality and safety reason, we do need at least one language in common which is why many of our women artisans are from Burma. Moo Kho speaks several Burmese languages and is their teacher.
If you know the name of your Burmese candle-maker from the story card or candle label, you can write directly to her by returning to the main artisans page and selecting her image. You can also send a general message of encouragement to the all the Burmese women using the form below – they would love it.
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