For years they were cooped up in a refugee camp, often went hungry and lived in constant anxiety. Now, thanks to CSI support, 27 children from a refugee camp in Myanmar are able to attend school in Thailand and look forward to a better life.
Sudarat, Anutchit, Pacharee and their classmates belong to the mainly Christian Karen ethnic minority, a group persecuted by the Myanmar army. Many of them have terrible memories of having to flee their homes in the middle of the night when the Myanmar military brutally attacked and destroyed their village. Others were born in the refugee camp.
In the camp the children lived in constant fear – of the Myanmar military, of landmines, and of not having enough to eat. Despite the risk of being abducted or even killed, hunger would frequently force them out of the relative safety of the camp to search for food in the woods.
On the other side of the border – in Thailand – the refugee children are safe. Thailand offers the only prospect they have of a better life, including an education.
No money for food or clothes
But here too food is in short supply. The Thai government only provides food to schoolchildren with Thai citizenship. In addition, many families have no money to buy clothes. “My shoes are worn out and my feet are often cold,” Sudarat, a 7th grade pupil, told CSI’s project partner.
If they are unable to afford a school uniform, there is a risk the young people will be sent back to the camp in Myanmar and never be able to leave again.
In light of the great need, CSI stepped in at the start of the year to cover the cost of providing meals and clothes for Sudarat and 26 other children at a Thai boarding school.
Now she and her fellow pupils can look forward to completing their 12-year primary and secondary school education. With a school leaving certificate they can apply for Thai citizenship and have opportunities to do further study or find work in the country.
Many of the children have high hopes for the future. Anutchit loves English and Math and hopes to become a mechanic or a pilot. Fifteen-year-old Pacharee would like to be a nurse and a singer, and Som Chai is a keen football and guitar player who dreams of being an engineer or mechanic.
Your donation can help turn the children’s dreams into reality.