The Mae Sot region has been sheltering Burmese refugees that have fled their homes for either political or economic reasons. Several camps, the oldest one being over 20 years old, house around 150,000 refugees. Mae La, the largest camp in the region, is tucked into the mountainside and provides sanctuary for almost 43,000 people. It alone mobilizes 11 NGOs. At only 8 kilometers from the frontier, Mae La opened its doors in 1984, and was home to only 1,100 people. Today, half of those seeking refuge in this place are under 17 years old, and 14% of them are under 5 years old. It is like a city within a city, with its own schools, a library, and even religious offices dedicated to Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. The refugees however are not allowed to work and live precariously in makeshift huts that are clumped together, turning into something that resembles a quagmire when the rainy season arrives. The youngest and weakest refugees have been living here for years, and are helped by and dependent on the NGOs. The youngest and most driven people pass through Mae La to try their luck inside the country.