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Exploring Karen refugee youths' aspirations and wellbeing amidst protracted displacement in Thailand

Working papers

Written by Charlotte Hill, Hayso Thako, Thà Shêê, Ta Thà Moo, Nant Susan Htoo, Eh T’Mwee

Image credit:Emma Carter Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Regardless of the extraordinary circumstances refugees may find themselves in, human beings seek not just to live but to do so in ways they believe have meaning and value.

In this respect, the challenging aspects of people’s lives that underpin these efforts – the subjective, the social, the moral and the material components of things – exist on a continuum and are hard to separate from each other. In public policy, this set of concerns has been discussed using the language of ‘wellbeing’, a shorthand used to describe the processes involved in people’s efforts to live ‘good’ lives that they believe have value, along with efforts by policy actors to measure and influence them.

This paper is one of two case studies contributing to a research project exploring people’s pursuit of wellbeing in protracted humanitarian crises, carried out by HPG at ODI. It focuses on the experiences of Karen refugee youth from Burma/Myanmar living in long established camps on the Thai side of the border. It explores what aspects of life Karen youth deem important in pursuing their wellbeing, and how far these priorities align with those of the humanitarian actors that support them.