World Refugee Day 2019: In faith and freedom
By: Patnarin Wongkad, Case Manager – HOST International Thailand
In honour of World Refugee Day, HOST International spoke with Nay Mun, a Christian-Jarai (also known as Montagnard) refugee from Vietnam. Nay is a husband, father of five children, and currently on bail under Thai immigration’s law for his serious medical condition. When we asked Nay why he wanted to share his story, he said that he wants the world to know what happened to him and his family.
“God must have heard my prayers. I also give blessings to people who work for helping me – I see them and I become very happy,” says Nay Mun.
“I cannot work in Thailand, yet I feel God loves me a lot. Even the police help me.”
HOST Thailand is currently working with 28 adults in the community. They are all women with children, except for Nay being the only man released due to his heart condition. The partners of the released mothers remain in Immigration Detention Centre (IDC).
Nay’s severe heart condition meant that he was detained to his hospital bed for nearly two months. During this time, he felt lonely and weary as he could not communicate with other foreigners who were also there. Nevertheless, he kept praying to God. He felt that his prayer was answered by God, with help from the UNHCR and other NGOs as he was soon released and reunited with his family. He now resides in Nonthaburi Province with his wife and 17-year-old son, while his four other children are in Vietnam.
Nay Mun tells HOST that he is very happy that he has a bed to sleep in and that he gets to live outside IDC. Even though his heart disease still makes him easily exhausted, he feels relieved to be living in the community.
Due to Nay’s refugee status, he cannot legally work in Thailand. This means Nay is reliant on the support of services such as HOST and the local community. However even with financial support, Nay experiences significant financial stress, due to ongoing medical bills as well as providing food for his family. Like other Jarai people residing in the community, they cannot help one another financially but they pray for each other regularly.