Kying Win



39, from Kyauk Phyu Township, Rakhine State

When he was living in Myanmar, Kying Win spent 7 years moving from factory to factory, always looking for the next good job. Later, a friend told him about potential work in Thailand, and he decided he would leave Myanmar and travel to Thailand to explore this opportunity.

His friend was right, and Kying did eventually find steady employment at a wood mill on Phuket Island, Thailand, but it was a long hard journey getting there.

When arriving in the border area, Kying had to walk through dense jungle on foot. He remembers thinking he was alone, with his dream, but he came across other workers, all hiding in the jungle, and hoping to cross the border into Thailand to find work.

After waiting in the jungle, the workers were all packed into one vehicle and driven to an old pier in Ranong province, Thailand. From there they were shipped across to Phuket, all the while not knowing where they were being taken.

Kying arrived in Thailand without papers, no work permit, and no passport. Luckily, he was offered a rare amnesty by the Thai government and was given both a work permit and a passport. These papers alleviated his fear and gave him a new life working and living at the wood mill. However, he was not able to obtain health insurance because he failed a pre-employment medical exam (due to his health condition at the time).

Not long after he started his position in early 2020, Kying suffered a serious injury when the roof of the factory collapsed on him. The factory owner acted quickly and drove him to a medical clinic for treatment.

But Kying had no health insurance. His femur was seriously damaged, and doctors inserted a metal pin. He could not pay for his treatment, or for any of the aftercare he would need.

Thankfully a friend contacted DISAC, Diocesan Social Action Center. DISAC provides support and assistance to migrant workers and members of other vulnerable groups living in Phuket. DISAC staff helped raise money to pay for Kying’s medical expenses as well as find him accommodation, where he still lives today, near Phuket Port.

He was hopeful that he would soon be back walking on his own feet and continue working. Sadly, in 2022, it was reported to DISAC that Kying Win passed away quietly while sleeping at his place.

Photo by Luke Duggleby

Kyaw Su Ngu


Kyaw Su Ngu