The Unified Learning Center (ULC) completed its 2014-2015 academic year. Prior to the closing of school, students received an English Resources packet, which includes a comprehensive list of common English words and phrases as well as websites for English speaking practice. The students have an opportunity to attend an optional English class held at the FED office during the school holidays. With the resources at hand, the ULC students can continue studying English whether they return to school or enter the workforce. The students are encouraged to maintain their same study habits both inside and outside the classroom in order to improve their English and find more sustainable employment.
Meet some of our students who unfortunately due to family circumstances might not return to the ULC for the next school year
This is sixteen-year-old Nay. He recently completed grade 8 at the Unified Learning Center. He is from Mon State, Myanmar and has been in Thailand since 2012. He has a fourteen-year-old sister and four-year-old brother. His father works on a rubber plantation while his mother works at a restaurant.
As the eldest son, Nay assists his father in his work, collecting rubber liquid in the early mornings at around 2 am. When he finishes, he comes to school, where he is the top of his class and the student body leader. During the school holidays, he works at a construction site, washes dishes at a restaurant, and performs general work anywhere necessary.
He has been playing football for about eight years. He has won several football awards, both in Myanmar and in Thailand. He dreams of meeting Cristiano Ronaldo one day. He wants to continue playing football every day in hopes of becoming a professional football coach.
He is also extremely interested in photography, specifically with athletes. He enjoys capturing action shots during football games. He participated in a school program, called, Children on the Move, where he learned to use film and photography as a tool to promote awareness of human rights violations in his community. He also enjoys mathematics and has expressed interest in pursuing engineering classes as a way to help his community.
As one of the top students, he excels tremendously in English class. He assisted Sophie in creating subtitles for a video documentary about Burmese migrants. His favorite unit in English class was the human rights unit, where the students discussed human rights activists, such as Mala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela. They compared sexism vs. racism, equality vs. inequality, human rights vs. human rights violations.
When asked to discuss problems concerning human rights in the community, Nay was the first to voice his concerns. He spoke about the mistreatment of Burmese migrants by Thai employers and about the lower wages Burmese migrants receive. He is passionate about fighting against discrimination in the Burmese migrant community. When asked what he would do if he was the leader of a country, he said that he would strive to provide everyone with a mode of transportation. Whether it be a bicycle, motorbike, or car, he believes that everyone deserves to have transportation as it creates opportunity and easier access to work.
Unfortunately, Nay's mother wants him to quit school and work as a waiter. She has found him a job at a local restaurant, where he has already started training. He cannot work and go to school at the same time, so this means he must drop out of school. He wants to continue studying, but his family needs his financial support immediately.
As an influential leader among the students, Nay goes above and beyond, both inside and outside the classroom. His genuine heart and passion to lead others has inspired his peers and elders, who all see great potential in him. We hope that Nay will continue to develop and inspire others around him.
Cherry, sixteen years old, recently completed grade 8 at the Unified Learning Center. She is from Yangon, Myanmar and arrived in Thailand in 2010. She has a younger sister and older brother. Her parents are gardeners at the golf club in Khuk Khak. While enrolled in school, Cherry also worked at a local restaurant to help her family earn a little more income. She wants to continue her education in hopes to attend graduate school in the future. Her parents said if they find a better job, they will let her continue to study. However, if they are unable to find good employment, she must stop her studies and find a full-time job.
Cherry is a natural performer. She loves acting, singing, and dancing. Every time there is a celebration, Cherry jumps at the opportunity to perform her traditional Myanmar dance for the ceremony. She played the part of Little Red Riding Hood in her English class and was the star of the show.
She desires to further her education and become a teacher. She dreams of teaching at underprivileged schools where she can offer her skills to those in need. She is passionate about working with charities and providing education to those who do not have the opportunity to learn.
“I love helping people who live in difficult, impoverished areas.”
Cherry is seen as an older sister for many of the ULC students. She inspires others to learn around her. When there were no grade 8 classes available at the school, Cherry stayed at home and continued to study on her own. She returned to school the following year when grade 8 classes commenced, where she advanced as one of the top students.
Her English has progressed quite rapidly. She has gained confidence in speaking English and even volunteered to give an introduction for the student presentation to over 20 American students. After the presentation, an American teacher who comes every year said that one year ago, Cherry was too timid to speak any English. Now, in just one year, she has become one of the most competent English speakers in the school. It was encouraging for Cherry and the other students to hear about the progress she has made. Hopefully it will inspire others around her to continue studying English.
Cherry's favorite part of English class is singing English songs, especially “Let It Go.” She translated, memorized, and performed the song for her fellow peers. She is passionate about teaching and spends a lot of her time tutoring younger students in English. When asked what she would do if she won the lottery, she said that she would give all the money to the ULC so the students have an opportunity to receive a quality education.
Along with Nay, Cherry assisted the english teacher in developing English subtitles for the Burmese video documentary. It was special for Cherry because she translated her father’s words as he was one of the interviewees. Her favorite subject is English because she enjoys learning an internationally-recognized language. By knowing English, doors of opportunity will open for Cherry. Whether she attends university or not, she wants to continue studying English. She has high hopes for the students at the ULC and her future.
Nay editing videos for Children on the Move
Nay leading students on Human Rights March
Cherry performing Burmese traditional dance
Cherry with Nursery students