Workshop Prothesis

Thailand, Autumn 2010

Maw Keh, ex Karen warrior, lost his left leg stepping on a landmine in 1997 in the Karen State. After trying to work making protheses in Burma, he was sent away by the Military Junta becouse his work was not appreciated. Since more than 10 years he has been working at the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, a Thai city along Burma-Thai border. The Clinic provides free health care for refugees, migrant workers, and other individuals who cross the border from Burma to Thailand. Maw Keh calls this department ‘Workshop Prothesis’. Every year new assistants come to the department to learn how to make Prosthesis due to the increasing number of people who lost their legs. Everyday Maw Keh works with his collaborators making handmade resin and wood prothesis for the victims of the conflicts between the government and the Karen guerrilla. The majority of patients come from internal areas of the Karen State. SPDC (State Peace and Development Council, the official name of the military regime in Burma) soldiers, after conquering Karen’s areas, confine the people and put landmines around the villages. Most Karen people step on landmines near their houses. All of them don’t have the money to move from their areas and go to town to buy prosthetic legs. For this reason patients cross the Thai-Burma border and come to Maw Keh department. The ‘Workshop Prothesis’ is the only workshop in a radius of 100km, which makes free protheses for patients. Thanks to Maw Keh work, between 200 and 220 Karen a year receive leg-prothesis.