Baptist World Alliance
Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Phone: +1 703 790 8980
Fax: +1 703 893 5160      

May 3, 2012 

For Immediate Release

Fire destroys Baptist school in refugee camp

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Washington (BWA)--Fire destroyed the Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Bible School and College in the Mae Le refugee camp on the border between Thailand and Myanmar on April 28.


The school was founded by Saw Simon, the recipient of the Baptist World Alliance Human Rights Award in 2000, and offers general education to refugees and training to church leaders.


The fire also destroyed Simon's dwelling.


Simon and his family fled across the Thai border after the school, which was originally located in Rangoon (Yangon), the former capital of Myanmar, was destroyed. He later restarted it at the Mae La camp in 1984.  


Mae La houses an estimated 50,000 persons and is one of the largest of several refugee camps for displaced persons from Myanmar who fled conflicts in the South Asian country. The school restarted with 32 students and has since grown in enrollment to more than 300.


There is uncertainty as to the start of school for the next term, which begins in June.


A video of the fire can be viewed at or