Displaced from Burma in the aftermath of atrocious human rights abuses, the Shan Refugee Community in Northern Thailand seek a brighter future through supplementary education for their children. We help to support these aspirations through funding the stipends of a Project Coordinator and Computer Teacher, school uniforms, stationary and books. In partnership with the community members, we develop extra curricular activities aimed at promoting self-esteem and developing new skills.
The problem lies in the lack of opportunities for both educational and personal development for the children in the camp, due to their status as unofficial refugees. Only able to attend local school until the age of 12, they leave with limited job prospects, and consequently, many are tempted away from their community to seek low paid jobs in the city. As well as fragmenting a community, this leaves them vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination and leads to a lack of empowerment.
In partnership with the camp, we seek to evolve our already successful education program, through equipping the children in the camp with the necessary tools to help realise their potential, and blossom into confident young adults. For academic success we support teachers and the practical materials, such as books and stationary. We also aim to promote extra curricular activities such as break dancing and painting to ensure other forms of creative expression beyond the classroom.
Education empowers communities; for the younger generations, it offers opportunities into higher education, as well as giving them the confidence and skills to enter the workforce. For the community elders, many of whom are illiterate, it offers hope that new generations of the community are destined for a future of options and consequential prosperity. For the community as a whole, it provides morale and a sense of direction towards positive change.
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The Branch Foundation's Shan Refugee Camp film