Monger family in native Bhutanese dress

Life Before the Conflict

Older refugees remember the days before the conflict, when they were living happily on a farm in Southern Bhutan, a jungle village on the Thai-Burmese border, or a small city town in Sudan or Somalia. Younger people may or may not remember what happened when the Burmese military burned their homes or the Bhutanese government evicted their families from their land and revoked their citizenship.

Photographs from these earlier times are hard to come by for several reasons: the families did not own cameras, many years have gone by, and it was difficult to transport personal items during the times when the refugees were forced to move frequently. This set of images is a start to what is hoped will grow into a larger collection of memories from refugees’ previous lives at peace in their home countries. These were obtained through Facebook pages (with permission) and scanned from photo albums owned by refugees in Utica, NY. Positive comments and additional submissions are welcome!