Education
 Thailand
Project #15582

Educate 140 Refugees on The Thai-Burma Border

by The Branch Foundation
Vetted
Local monks learning English
Local monks learning English

Since our last report to you, there have been many developments in regards to this project. With the help of external evaluators and after many discussions with the community leaders, we have put in place new systems and practices to ensure the long-term sustainability of providing education to the youth of this vibrant community.

Previously, many of the English teachers at the camp were supported by another local organisation however due to funding restraints, they have been unable to continue to provide teacher wages. Understanding how important education is to this marginalised community, The Branch Foundation has offered step in and ensure that all nine English teachers are rewarded for their dedication and hard work. We have also continued our commitment of supporting the wages of the local computer teacher and education coordinator. Not only do we support wages within the camp but we also provide teacher training to ensure high levels of education are achieved, new teaching materials such as updated text books and the provision of native English speaking volunteers to help out during the classes.

As this project moves along, we hope to include more community contribution so that the residents of the camp have more ownership over the benefits that education can bring to the lives of youth whose families have fled violence and persecution in their homeland.

The teachers not only educate but also inspire. One young female English language student recently told us the following when we spoke to her during our last visit to the camp:

"Thank you for the support of my education. The classes have motivated me to become an English teacher in the future so that I can also help my community".

Now that we have grown the project to support more teachers, your support is even more important. Please consider setting up a regular donation or asking a friend or family member to do so in order for us to continue to provide wages to the local teachers of this inspirational community.

With sincere gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

A mother and her child at Koung Jor refugee camp
A mother and her child at Koung Jor refugee camp
The youth of the camp at the local Buddhist temple
The youth of the camp at the local Buddhist temple

Links:

The camp headman teaching evening English class
The camp headman teaching evening English class

Over the past few months, The Branch Foundation staff and leaders from Koung Jor Shan refugee camp have been working hard to ensure continued and sustainable access to supplementary education for the children and young adults of this vibrant community. Every once and a while, it is good to take stock of the project as a whole and that's exactly what we have focused our efforts on.

With the help of external evaluators, we conducted interviews with the community leaders, teachers and students to help us understand what the current needs are and how best we can serve them. During this process, we learnt many things to help us improve the educational activities. For example, the Burmese language classes were not seeing the attendance levels that the community expected mainly because the students wanted to focus their attention on English. This means that we can redirect our support to the areas that the community and students feel is most vital for their education and future career paths.

There are many other things that we learnt from the assessment and we keen to work with the teachers and students of Koung Jor Shan refugee camp to refocus some areas of this project and to help implement systems that enable the long term sustainability of providing children and young adults with the opportunities to reach their full potential.

During the recent interviews, one 14-year-old female student told us the following:

"I can learn a lot in our camp. Classes in subjects such as English and Computer Studies are a big help for my future."

We look forward to keeping you up to date with all the exciting changes that will be happening over the next few months.

With sincere gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Iona & Tai Leng (the camp
Iona & Tai Leng (the camp's Education Coordinator)
Camp residents practising their English skills
Camp residents practising their English skills

Links:

Teachers receive their certificates after training
Teachers receive their certificates after training

Firstly, The Branch Foundation team would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy holiday season. December is a month when many people take time to reflect on what they have achieved over the last year, and we are no exception. With the help of your donations, we have managed to accomplish many of our goals in terms of providing education to those who would otherwise have little to no access to quality teaching. Your contributions have enabled us to implement 3 teacher training sessions in the refugee camp, buy educational materials such as grammar books and stationary, and pay the wages of 9 local teachers.

Tai Leng, our Education Coordinator who lives in Koung Jor refugee camp, recently updated me regarding the success of providing supplementary education in topics such as Information Technology:

"Students can apply the skills they learn from the classes. There are some students who come to learn computer every night and they are able to make presentations using Power Point, write homework assignment using Microsoft Word and edit videos by themselves. Therefore, we believe that computer class benefits to children in their further education and future professions."

The need for funding for educational opportunities such as these is ever present; therefore we would be extremely grateful if you would consider giving the gift of education this holiday season so that we can continue to enhance the future opportunities of such talented children and young adults. Please click the link below to find out how you can further support this project:

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/educate-140-refugees-on-the-thai-burma-border/

With sincere gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation team

Some of the younger residents of the refugee camp
Some of the younger residents of the refugee camp
The teachers practice new activities
The teachers practice new activities
A few of the younger children at the camp
A few of the younger children at the camp

It's been truly amazing to see the support that this project has had through funds generated via GlobalGiving. We've had donations from all over the world and from people of all ages. We would like to thank you personally for being one of them!

Education is one of the top priorities in this remote refugee camp. Tai Leng, the local Education Coordinator, explains why:

"The supplementary classes at Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp has enabled some students to become local teachers and others have been able to attend higher education at universities in Thailand. We hope to pass on our knowledge to future generations so they will also be able to use education to better their lives."

Your support has enabled us to continue to train and provide wages to local teachers; purchase educational materials for the students and to work together with the community to further develop the classes at the refugee camp. We have lots to look forward to in the coming months. Firstly, we are holding our last teacher training session of 2015 at the end of October. As per usual, we will be sending an experienced trainer to the refugee camp that will be following on from previous sessions in order to provide the teachers with the skills necessary to pass on their knowledge in a low resource environment.

We will also be holding meetings with the camp's education representatives and teachers to plan ahead for 2016. Local expertise is always at the forefront of our future planning and we are looking forward to some fruitful discussions. We also hope to secure another English language teacher volunteer, as Katie (our current volunteer) is pursuing a role with the Peace Corps next month. She has carried out a wonderful job at Koung Jor, inspiring the students with her fun and interactive teaching techniques. We are sure she will be missed at the camp, but we are also excited to provide this opportunity to another volunteer.

If you would like to view further information regarding our education programmes as well as other projects, please click on the following link to view our recently published annual report:

Annual Report 2014/15

We look forward to keep you informed about all the new developments in our next report.

With sincere thanks,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team 

Students studying Information Technology
Students studying Information Technology
A lesson taking place in the local temple
A lesson taking place in the local temple

Links:

Children playing at Koung Jor refugee camp
Children playing at Koung Jor refugee camp

As per usual, it's been a busy time for us here at The Branch Foundation (TBF), especially in terms of our education project at the Koung Jor Shan refugee camp. During the past 3 months, we have focused on strengthening the quality of education provided in this community made up of just over 500 residents. The children here are able to attend the local Thai school however teaching standards in this remote area of Thailand are poor and, due to their status as unofficial refugees, the youth have little chance to advance their education beyond basic level. That is the reason why supplementary classes are so important and that's exactly what your donation supports. By providing these classes, students are able to gain entrance into bridging education programmes and thus realise their full potential both in terms of knowledge and employment opportunities for their future.

Since our last report, we have:

  • Provided 45 new grammar books for use in the evening classes
  • Paid the wages of 5 Burmese language teachers, one computer teacher, one English teacher and an Education Coordinator
  • Held another teacher training which combined the new classroom activities they were provided with in the first session with the lesson planning techniques they learnt last time

Due to the previous education coordinator's other commitments, we have now replaced him with two new staff to carry out the duty of making sure education activities run smoothly in the refugee camp. Both of these new staff members have previously benefitted from the supplementary classes at Koung Jor and have just finished their bridging education programmes. They are keen to give back to their community and enable the new generation in the camp to gain access to the educational assistance they once received. We look forward to working alongside them to further develop and strengthen the supplementary education programmes. Tai Leng, the new education coordinator, had the following to say to our supporters:

"We have students both from the camp and from outside the camp attending our evening classes. This gives them the chance to improve their English and Burmese language skills. On behalf of the teachers, community members and students, I would like to thank you very much".

We are sincerely thankful for the positive effect that your donation has made and we hope that you follow us and the residents of Koung Jor on our journey towards providing marginalised youth with the best chance possible for a bright future.

With gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Teachers receive their certificates after training
Teachers receive their certificates after training
Some students with their new grammar books
Some students with their new grammar books
Interactive teacher training session
Interactive teacher training session

Links:

 

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Organization Information

The Branch Foundation

Location: Chiang Mai - Thailand
Website: http:/​/​www.thebranchfoundation.org
Project Leader:
Tom Rosen
Project Manager
Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Thailand

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