Dear Reader and supporter!
Earlier this year, BEAM launched a project to raise support for migrant teachers. Through this project, 20 migrant teachers who are currently receiving about $50 as salary per month would receive adequate remuneration to cater for their living expenses, including the provision of basic protection. A 7-day training program will be organized twice a year to enhance the capacity and growth of the teachers, including access to information technology resources. Better housing arrangements will also be implemented for their safety and security. The project is in three phases with the goal to raise $40,000 for each phase, funding 60 teachers in total (20 teachers per phase).
Currently there are around 700 teachers in 70 migrant learning centers (MLCs) in Thailand that work with inadequate resources. They have fewer training opportunities and are underpaid if you compare to teachers in schools around Thailand. Still these teachers keep doing their valuable work to ensure that migrant and refugee children are not left uneducated.
The greatest long-term impact of this project is the opportunity it provides for migrant teachers to provide quality education to migrant children. Education that prepares the children to positively contribute to their society. Since BEAM has not yet secured full funding for the project, the first phase has not yet been launched, however the 20 teachers have been identified, as well as 12 others for the second phase. In this report you can read about why they became teachers and why they continue to be migrant teachers, despite the difficult working conditions.
BEAM conducted interviews with 32 migrant teachers to see why they chose to be a migrant teacher and what their biggest struggles are. To protect the teachers, no names will be used in this report. All of the teachers identified by BEAM have a true passion for teaching, and love sharing their knowledge. One teacher stated “I choose to become a teacher because I want to share my knowledge with the new generation and they can share it with their new generation again.” One of the other teachers said “Most migrant workers cannot write and read when they face problems. So I chose to become a teacher for their children.”
This is very powerful, that despite knowing the difficult working conditions and the low reward, the teachers chose to teach migrant children. One teacher answered “If migrant children are not educated, they are in a greater risk from human trafficking, being abused and they can be in a dangerous situation.” This shows that the teachers have a deep understanding of the struggles of migrant families and children and they want to help as much as they can, despite that they put themselves at risk.
“My future goal is to do my best, whatever I can do for migrant children and their bright future. However, as a migrant teacher the biggest challenge is about safety and security, staying here in Thailand. The second challenge will be after retirement, what is the future of migrant teachers?.”
The low income is a big challenge for many of the teachers as they cannot support their own families. They also often lack safe places to live, as well as little resources to teach the children. One teacher expressed “We need support for survival (food), health care, safety, salary and other support for migrant teachers. Due to the pandemic, we are facing funding cut and the situation leads to reducing teachers' salaries.”
Access to quality education is part of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and is one of the most important tools to break the cycle of poverty and prevent exploitation of the most vulnerable. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, protecting and ensuring access to education for vulnerable communities has become even more important than ever before. The United Nations (UN) estimates that more than 1 billion children are at risk of falling behind due to school closures and reduced livelihoods, whilst, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the pandemic has caused economic and social disruption that puts tens of millions of people at risk of falling into extreme poverty, decreasing food security and causing widespread undernourishment.
With your support for the this project, we can ensure that the teachers get better education and resources, a proper living wage and safe housing. With this support, teachers will be able to help more migrant children and provide a better education for them too. You can make the difference and provide a chance for a quality life for migrants in Thailand!
Thank you for your great support of BEAM and of Migrant Teachers in Thailand.