COERR in the Traditional ELDERLY DAY Activities in Refugee Camps

COERR and Peace Committee, concern authorities and Youth Groups in 9 refugee camps and Thai villages organized the Elderly Day ceremonies during April-May 2013:

COERR Mae Sot: ELDERLY DAYS at Ban Umpiem, Ban Nupo and Ban Mae La camps

In April, the Elderly Day activities were organized in the following camps: Umpiem camp on 15th, Nupo camp on 24th and Mae La camp on 29th.

COERR, The Peace Committee, Camp Leaders and NGOs’ representatives participated in the opening ceremonies to give speech on the importance of the senior people who play an important role in each family and community in transferring culture and tradition as heritage to the younger generation.

Then elderly’ representatives shared to the participants, their wisdom through traditions and cultures, experience and view how they had lived their lives.

The outcomes of the ceremonies were quite successful as approximately 150 elders from each camp attended the events to celebrate the memorial moments with the younger generations.

The Peace Youth Groups under the Healing of Memory and Reconciliation (HOM) project had an opportunity to learn from wisdom and experience of their elders. They also show their ability and talent through traditional singing and dancing as to thank the elders.

Other activities were Tips about the Disaster Preparedness in the dry season to reduce risk in camps; Healthy competition of Laughing contests; and then the traditional ceremony of water blessing in which youth pour water on the elders’ hand and the elders give their blessing in return. Supplementary food and gift, as the expression of gratitude and moral support, were finally distributed to elderly.

Elderly Day in Mae La camp

Elderly Day in Umpiem camp

COERR MAE HONG SON: ELDERLY DAYS at Ban Mae Surin and Ban Mai Nai Soi Camps

On April 26, COERR and the Peace committee with Youth Groups in Ban Mae Surin camp organized “Elderly Day” ceremony with the theme for this year of “You are not alone”. The aim was to encourage and cheer for the elders after the March 22nd tragic fire incident. There were 75 elders among the participants.

While the Elderly Day in Ban Mai Nai Soi camp was organized on 7-8 May 2013 with the similar activities, i.e. Prayers for those who passed away during the big fire in Ban Mae Surin camp as spiritual support to the refugees affected by the incidents, as well as meetings among elderly refugees in this annually significant ceremony. In the event elders’ values were recognized by Youth representatives in the Speech of Appreciation. Water Blessing and Wrist Tying, as the ritual part of the ceremony, were conducted during which elders were to bless the youth in return. 381 elders and refugees joined this event.

Elderly Days in Mae Hong Son Camps

Ban Mae Surin Elderly “You are not alone

Prayers for the Refugees in Ban Mae Surin Fire (left)   Elderly representative give a speech (right)

The Youth Express their Well Wish and Gratitude to the Elders (left)
Traditional Water Blessing Ceremony (right)

COERR Mae Sa Rieng: ELDERLY DAY at Ban Mae Lama Luang and Ban Mae La Oon camps

COERR and the concern refugee committee and refugee groups organized the Elderly Day Ceremonies in Mae Lama Luang and Mae La Oon camps in Mae Sarieng District, Mae Hong Son Province on April 23 and 24, 2013. During the ceremony youth and elders met and joined the traditional and ritual activities of water blessing and wrist tying as well as the relationship strengthening activities such as traditional singing, dancing, contests, nail-cutting for elderly refugees and gift offering to approximately 70 elders participants in each camp.

COERR Kanchanaburi: ELDERLY DAY at Ban Don Yang camp and Ban Tham Hin camps

At Ban Tham Hin camp, Ratchaburi province and Ban Don Yang camp, Kanchanaburi province, elderly and youth groups participated in the elderly day ceremonies held on May 10th and 17th, respectively, under the theme of “Laughter and Smile”. As laughter is the best medicine, a laughing contest was organized among several activities including traditional and cultural performance. The highlight moments were the ritual ceremony of water blessing and wrist-tying. 250 participants including 88 vulnerable elders joined the ceremony in Tham Hin, while 400 refugees including 40 elders attended the event in Ban Don Yang camp.

For elderly who are not able to attend the Elderly Day activities, COERR Program Social Worker have paid a home visit to bring spiritual and moral support to the elders. The Elderly Day Ceremony has been successful and impacted in several dimensions : the elders’ values are recognized by the family and community; the cultural and traditional activities are preserved; the Peace Committee, the Youth Group played an important role as organizers and leaders and gained useful experience and skills for their future work.

Elderly Days in Ban Don Yang and Tham Hin camps