Read Meah's Story
Meah was just four years old when she was packed onto a small, overcrowded fishing boat along with her mother and baby sister. The trip across the Andaman Sea takes weeks. With no room to move in the overloaded boat, anything might have been done to Meah and other children who were so vulnerable and exposed.
Her mum had to pay a hefty sum to a trafficker who promised to take them from their home in Myanmar to a “better life” in Malaysia, where her father had found work. They were only given a handful of rice to eat each day. Children cried constantly because of their hungry tummies. Not everyone survived the terrifying journey.
Their boat never made it to Malaysia. It landed in southern Thailand and the refugees, now illegal migrants, were detained by officials in processing centres. They had nowhere to go and didn’t want to go back to Myanmar.
Meah became separated from her mother and eventually ended up in one of Save the Children’s refugee shelters in Thailand. No one can find her mum.
When Meah first arrived at the shelter, she wouldn’t speak, wouldn’t wash, and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye. It’s no wonder she acted like this after her harrowing trip across the sea, crammed up next to strangers, and then losing her mum.