Dooplaya, Umphium Mai Camp
Founded in 2002, this dormitory will be home to an estimated 100 children in 2010*. The youngest is nine years old, the oldest 18. In the past, life has been difficult for these children. They have had to forage outside the camp for cabbages left over from nearby crops, or eat what they have found in the jungle.
The children at Dooplaya dormitory are always eager to talk about what they have eaten for dinner or what they cooked that week for breakfast. A visit to the dormitory in the evening always finds many students studying while others weave on small back strap looms or play marbles in the dust.
The former leader of the boarding house, Day Chae, resettled to a third country and the dorm is currently run by Ta Kee Wah and four volunteers. The volunteers live at the dorm and are responsible for about twenty children each. Each group takes turns to cook and clean and the volunteers meet daily with the children in their charge, encouraging them to study and work hard.
Dooplaya dormitory is co-funded by a small international group called Women with a Mission who provides funds for some of the food, as well as kitchen supplies and construction needs.
Formerly this was referred to as Day Chae’s Dormitory, as the Boarding House Leader’s name was Day Chae. In 2009, we asked children to come up with a name for their dormitory and they chose the name of the district in Karen State where many are from.
There are currently 77 children staying in the dormitory and more are expected for the upcoming year.