Photo Story – “Daily lives, Difficulties and Dreams of Myanmar Migrants in Thailand”

Brief Description

Millions of Myanmar migrants live and work in Thailand, amongst others serving important economic sectors such as tourism and agriculture. This is the case for thousands of predominantly ethnic Burmese migrant workers in the hotels and restaurants on the island of Koh Tao in Surat Thani Province and in the fields of Phop Phra district in Tak Province.

The vast majority of these migrants come to Thailand with the purpose to save up to buy land, build a house and set up a livelihood in Myanmar. Rights violations in relation to their salaries, poor living conditions, health and legal status, however, leave them in extreme precarity. This makes it difficult, if not possible, for many to save up, extending their time away from their family and homeland indefinitely. Indeed, many, in reality, often stay for decades. The highly uncertain situation worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and currently, inflation and the coup engender new challenges.

The migrant workers are very aware of the injustice they face, yet they have few opportunities to express their experiences and claim their rights. This exhibition aims to provide a space for the migrants to do so through Photo Voice.

The project was supported by the “Staying Resilience Amid the Pandemic in Southeast Asia” initiative of SEA Junction in partnership with CMB and co-supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801199 and implemented by SAW Foundation.

The photos were exhibited titled My Photo My Story: Daily lives, Difficulties and Dreams of Myanmar Migrants in Thailand” in SEA Junction (4th Floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Center) from 20 December to 30 December 2022.

About the Photographers

In 2022, 35 young women and men attended training in photography and storytelling to document their daily life, difficulties and dreams. Today, their work is in front of you. The photos were selected in collaboration with the migrants, who are very proud to share their photos and their stories about exploitation, insecurity, homesickness, pride and hope.