Photos and text from Demotix
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On the outskirts of the transient dusty border town of Mae Sot lies the municipal waste dump that has become home to more than 300 Burmese migrants. Life on the dump revolves around the perpetual task of sifting through rotting waste desperately searching for anything that can be sold for recycling to earn enough money to survive. They have escaped the wretched poverty and oppression just some 3 miles away in their homeland of Burma and life on the dump offers them more hope than that offered by the ruling Burmese military regime. There are thousands of migrants who live in the town of Mae Sot, but those living on the dump are the poorest. Hundreds make the daily crossing either over or under the so-called friendship bridge that spans the Moei river, and which provides the difference between hope and despair.