The islands that make up the Mergui Archipelago in Burma are home to the Moken people. The Moken, often referred to as sea gypsies are listed in the bottom 5 poorest ethnic communities in the world. Depending nearly entirely on the sea, the fishermen face more and more pressures every year to their very existence. Often bullied by the mainland fishing fleets for supplies and easily swayed by the Thais to adopt unsustainable and destructive fishing methods such as blast fishing and shark finning, the simple Moken way of life may become a thing of the past, leaving behind an eco-system laid to waste through exploitation and pollution.
The Moken Campaigns were founded by Thailand Dive & Sail in 2009 to help the Moken, rooted with a deep devotion to the Mergui Archipelago and determination to bring about environmental changes to the region. The Moken, whilst living on the edge of an extremely fragile eco-system, receive only limited help from the Burmese government. Although rudimentary health care is available, the local nurses receive only limited supplies of medicine to treat diseases such as malaria which is on the increase in the area. Waterborne diseases thrive in fresh water that accumulates in the garbage washed ashore on the beaches where there are numerous Moken villages.
With any project that hopes to affect a change in a region such as Mergui the first step is to earn the trust of local indigenous populations. The goal of seeandsea.org is to improve the quality of life for the Moken so we can work together for a sustainable future through aid programs and educational projects.