Regan, with parents Phyllis and Ron Reader
Thai children at a Christmas presentation attended by Readers
|In 1997 Regan
Reader had finished 3 years of studies at University of Winnipeg.
However, after taking courses in International Development and
Sustainable Agricultural Development she decided to leave her studies
and go where she could put her learning into action.
Without any sponsorships from relief
organizations she headed for Thailand and probably the most dangerous
area of the country. In Northwest Thailand about two kilometers from
the Burmese border are three large refugee camps (total population of
the camps from 70,000 to 80,000). In these camps are Karenna , hill
people whose semi-autonomous state in North East Burma is rich in teak
wood and minerals. Current news in our media tells us of the brutal
treatment of these people by the Burmese Army.
Regan, on her own, headed for one of
these camps, walked in and set to work helping the refugees. While
there she taught English, helped people with translations , assisted
people with appeals to international organizations for help, acted as
a liaison with the Red Cross (Red Cross reps would visit the camps.
Regan lived there.)
She became well respected there and at
one point was asked to go back into Burma with a survey party to be a
witness to the atrocities being committed by the Army: Wisely, she
refused. (see our October newsletter about one of her students from
the camp that was recently caught and executed in a Karenna village.)
After a nine month stint, Regan
returned to University of Winnipeg to finish her first degree. She
then moved on to University of Waterloo to complete her Masters
degree. Since then she has worked for the Canadian Research Council in
Ottawa and is now with the United Nations Org. stationed in Bangkok as
a consultant for Sustainable Forestry & Agricultural & Food Org.
Washington Post website
This link takes you to a Washington
Post website video that looks at one of the camps Regan served (Alert:
the video starts out with an ad from some oil company; wait it out to
see the camp material).