Lily Cole visits Burmese Refugee Camp

Actress, model and philanthropist Lily Cole has followed in Angelina Jolie’s footsteps by visiting a large refugee camp on the Burmese border.

In her role as a Christian Aid ambassador, Cole spearheaded a charity Christmas appeal and spent four days at Nai Soi camp in Mae Hong Son, which is on the border between Thailand and Burma, and houses 15,000 refugees.  The British model is only the second figure, after UN Ambassador Jolie, to visit the camp due to security concerns.

Cole, who is currently studying for a degree in History of Art at Cambridge University, described the possibility of the camp losing funding as “frightening”.

During her time there, Cole talked to young women about their situation and admits she was shocked to learn some of the camp’s residents have lived there for more than 20 years. She says, “It’s a difficult idea to get my head around. It’s been one of the most moving trips of my life.”

“The camps offer a refuge for people who have nowhere else in the world to feel safe and secure. If the funds were removed there would be nowhere for them to go. It’s frightening. There wouldn’t be this space filled with so many children laughing and playing.”

Nai Soi camp is one of nine refugee sites on the Thailand Burma border which shelter a total of 145,000 people.

Since 1985 Christian Aid has worked with the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) to provide them with food and shelter.

Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal highlights the plight of tens of millions of refugees worldwide driven from their homes by disaster, war, persecution or hunger. Donations can be made by calling 0845 7000 300 or at christianaid.org.uk/christmas

Cole’s article can be read on The Guardian’s website: here.

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