Dr Cynthia founder of the Mae Tao Clinic on the Thai Burma border that provides free health care to as many 140,000 refugees and migrant workers from Burma each year celebrated her 55th birthday on Saturday 6 December by planting the same number of trees and called on the international community to continue funding border projects.
Dr Cynthia’s Mae Tao Clinic started life as little more than a shed. Today MTC has dozens of staff and treats tens of thousands of patients each year. Dr Cynthia because of her work has received more than 20 awards worldwide. Speaking at her birthday celebrations Dr Cynthia said.
“I would like to say that I am very happy that I could celebrate my birthday ceremony with my fellow workers, the local community leaders, the students, education organizations and women organizations. In particular, I am pleased that we can provide the education and healthcare services because of the support of the ethnic people, both from Burma and Thailand and also because of the support of the Thai people.
Dr Cynthia stressed that it was important for the international community to continue funding projects along the border.
“People along the border continue to receive humanitarian support from the international organizations, though this may change. I would like to say that, at the present time, people in the border areas still urgently need the support of international organizations in order to not only survive but live with dignity.”
Dr. Cynthia said that for the moment the border region still needed the financial support for the conceivable future as Burma’s threadbare health care and education system forced people across the border for help.
“We see that people from inside are receiving the support of the international organizations. We need short term and long term support – three years or five years is needed to establish strong ongoing education, healthcare service and livelihood support.”
Dr.Cynthia stressed that more people needed to be doing more good for the community.
“If more people get involved in the right way I believe that our country will get genuine democracy and will have a genuine federal state, we will be developed and we will become a country full of prosperity for the people.”
Attending Dr Cynthia’s birthday celebrations were representatives of the Karen National Union, Karen Youth Organization, Karen Women’s Organization, Thai authorities and many community based organisations and NGOs.
A total of over 300 people attended the ceremony and among those were students who performed traditional dance at the celebration while others delivered speeches. Dr Cynthia planted 55 trees, each one representing a year of her life, as a symbol of encouraging young people to take care of the environment.