Maw Kwee is a small rural village in Thailand along the Burmese border. With limited access to education in rural Karen State, Burma, students travel here to attend primary school. Some students have fled conflict and this is one of their only options for schooling outside the refugee camps. 115 students stay in dormitories next to the school and only have candles to use as light. By installing solar lighting, the students will be able to further their education and live in a safe environment.
Although the children are fortunate enough to be able to attend this school in Thailand, the conditions are not favorable. Due the lack of electricity in the village, the students have to study and live by candle light after dusk. This poses fire risks as the dormitories are made of bamboo. Candles provide inadequate lighting, which affects the childrens' ability to effectively study and advance their education. The cost of candles also proves expensive in a village with limited income.
The Branch Foundation is collaborating with Solbakken, our local partner organisation who work to empower communities along the Thai-Burma border by providing renewable energy and clean drinking water to schools, clinics, and community buildings. We plan to install solar systems that will provide lighting for the dormitory, teacher house, and kitchen. This will enable the children to study in a safe environment and create local employment opportunities in regards to solar maintenance.
We believe access to education is vital and is the cornerstone of community development. The education received at the Maw Kwee School will not only empower the individual students but also their local communities. Some of the children are the first ones in their family to have the opportunity to attend school and in doing so are paving the way to achieve their full potential. Collectively, we feel this is the first step in empowering the community and generations to come.