Burmese migrants (both children and adults) face very difficult situations in Thailand due to the fact that they do not have legal citizenship in Thailand nor are they recognised as bona fide citizens of Burma. Simple things such as owning a mobile phone or driving a car are forbidden for Burmese migrants. Moreover, they are even subject to controlling martial laws such as an 8pm curfew. Most Burmese children are unable to attend school in the Thai education system, and they're expected to earn a living in rubber plantations or fisheries.
This project has become particularly popular with volunteers because it gives them the freedom to teach whatever skills they think may be beneficial to the Burmese migrants. Whether it be computer training, English language classes, self-development (such as female empowerment), or simply caring for the children in the community - there are no restrictions as to what volunteers can do to help the Burmese community.
The programme is constantly diversifying because there are so many areas where help is needed in this community. Earlier this year, a nursery section at the school was provided so that pre-school children can come and be looked after, this enables the women to go and seek work and increase their families very small income. Whilst the children are cared for at the school, Burmese women can take part in the women's empowerment classes provided by the school
The Project Organisers are constantly fighting for better conditions for the Burmese people, and are therefore flexible with the volunteer responsibilities at the project, expanding it from a purely teaching programme to encompass educational needs for the whole community. This can be from teaching about health and sanitary issues to computer and IT skills.
In addition to covering accommodation, lunch, volunteer introduction activities and 24/7 local support, the contribution from volunteers is vital to support the ongoing efforts of the projects that are largely reliant on charitable donations.
This is not a tourist area and volunteers will be immersed in the day-to-day Thai culture, and cannot fail to learn from experiences of the Burmese people. Volunteers will deeply understand the economic, social, and political context in which these people live.
Due to the somewhat rural location of the project and the fact that Burmese Immigrants live in almost segregated areas, all local amenities used by volunteers will directly benefit the local Thai and to a degree, Burmese community. For example:
- The Project Organisers rent local accommodation for the volunteers
- Volunteers will get breakfast and evening meals from a local street vendor or local cafe
- Lunch is provided and cooked at the school by local teachers
- Cleaning is done by the teachers and parents
For volunteers to perform effectively they have to understand something about the plight of the Burmese people, how they have been misplaced due to the on-going political issues that exist in Burma today. As the Burmese are often in Thailand without the appropriate papers, many restrictions have been placed on them and it is necessary for volunteers to be aware of such restrictions so as not to put them in a compromising position. The basics will be taught during the induction and also as the programme progresses.
The project is currently looking for sponsors to help build a new school building.
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