15 Mar 2013 02:00
The photojournalist follows two boys through their Theravada Initiation ceremony. Ta Pwe in the Karen terms refers to the celebration marking the samara ordination of boy under the age of 20.
It is deemed the most important duty that parents owe to their son by letting him go forth and embrace the legacy of the Buddha. He becomes immersed on Buddhist teachings for minimally a short while, perhaps longer, if not for the rest of his life. On the mark of this ceremony, at least forty children on the full moon of March got their hair shaved at Mae La refugee camp, Mae Sot, Thailand.
The holy celebration took place at Thirisanda monastery on the top hill of Camp Zone C. The Mae La camp accommodates 45,000 mainly ethnic Karen people and is the largest of nine camps along Thailand’s border with Burma. Despite the fact that the Karen National Union and the Myanmar government signed a ceasefire in 2011, the process towards democratic reform and reconciliation is in its early days.The majority of Mae La's refugees feel it is not time to return yet.
Saw Win Gy and The Win, respectively ten and twelve years old,are two Karen boys we followed during the ceremony.