SAVANNAH — Armstrong Atlantic State University on Monday will host a special lecture provide a rare insight into the challenging lives of women on the Thailand/Burmese border.
Amelia Iaderosa, a Richmond Hill High School graduate, will talk about her volunteer work in that area 1:30 p.m. Monday at the student union’s Ogeechee Theater. The event is free.
Iaderosa, 29, has spent the last 12 months living and working in Mae Sot, Thailand. She will speak on her work with the Karen Women’s Organization both in the refugee camps and over the border inside Karen State, Burma, from where many displaced Karen women seeking refuge have fled.
“Imagine you are a Karen woman — a mother, a daughter, a wife — living in a village inside Karen State, Burma. You work hard to care for your family, provide for them and protect them. Then one day, in an instant, the Burmese military shows up with rifles, grenades and angry fists to force you and your family out of the home you have spent your entire life creating,” Iaderosa said.
“You are forced to flee into the jungle for months at a time, not knowing how you will feed your family, if or when you will see your husband again or when the Burmese military will return. Eventually, you seek safety and shelter in a refugee camp inside Thailand. Every one of the women I work with at KWO has a unique yet similar story to this one.”
The presentation will last around one hour with time for questions and discussion and is free of charge. Iaderosa’s friends and family have launched the Impacting Lives campaign to pay for her return travel to Thailand and fund her basic living expenses for her unpaid work with KWO for another year, which will cost $10,000. Iaderosa has secured a $3,000 challenge grant.
“I have a strong belief that my work with the Karen women is not done, and I am fortunate that KWO has asked me to stay for another year, both my heart and my head are telling me to stay,” she said. “By the end of 2014, I hope that refugees will be able to return to Burma safely and with dignity and that women will have a voice in that return process and in the developing peace in Burma.”
To sponsor Amelia, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/impacting-lives.
For more information, go to www.karenwomen.org.