Thailife Foundation grants – depending on the funds available – individual education support or project grants for education projects.
In December 2003, the activities of the foundation started with our first individual grant and our support for a kindergarten on the Thai-Burma border.
The funds for the refugee kindergarten were largely raised through donations. We would like to thank everyone who did their part to start this funding.
Individual education grant
The first individual education support from the Thailife Foundation goes to Nuengruehthai, a student in her eleventh year at high school in Sermngarm, Lampang province in northern Thailand.
Nuengruehthai, who grows up as an orphan and only has her old grandmother, is looked after by the Thai branch of the Samuel Foundation in Düsseldorf, which in the Sermngarn region deals with a very convincing and effective concept for the education of children from poor and difficult children Conditions.
School education in Thailand is free, but transportation, school supplies and uniforms are not. Without the help of the Samuel Foundation, most of the children and adolescents cared for would not be able to attend primary school, let alone secondary schools.
The Thailife Foundation sponsored Nuengruehthai’s training with an amount of 240 euros per year. This amount is currently approximately sufficient to cover the additional costs required for school attendance.
You can find out more about the work of the Samuel Foundation in Thailand and other countries on the website www.samuel.de.
Help for a refugee kindergarten in Chiang Rai
It is estimated that over 150,000 Shan refugees from Shan State in northern Burma have sought refuge in Thailand. They have fled forced resettlement and other serious violations of human rights that the Burmese military regime continues to perpetrate in Shan State.
Unfortunately, these people are refused refugee status by the Thai authorities. They are forced to survive as illegal workers, for example as day laborers at low wages on the orchards in northern Thailand. For the refugees, this means living under extremely tough, often inhumane conditions. Usually it is entire families who have fled with their children and their elderly.
They have no legal protection and it is difficult for them to meet even the minimal basic needs for food and medical care. Most of the children have no access to school and education. One area of the Shan State that has been particularly severely affected by the displacement and resettlement policies of the Burmese regime in recent years is the Murng Karn Valley, located opposite the Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand. Here, as part of a regime ethnic reorganization program, 20,000 Wa tribe members from areas on the Chinese border were settled. The regime is hoping for support from the Wa. The existing Shan population and members of the Akha and Lahu ethnic communities who had their home there were forced to flee to the Thai border.
In April 2002, these refugees tried to build a camp on Thai soil, but were pushed back by the Thai security forces. They therefore settled directly on the border. A “de facto refugee camp” was created with the name Piang Pha, also named Loi Kaw Wan, which is currently inhabited by around 2,000 people. Newcomers keep coming in, whose livelihoods in their home villages have been destroyed. Most come from the Murng Hsat and Murng Tum area in southeastern Shan State.
The camp is supported by some non-governmental organizations with the most basic food stuffs such as Rice supplies, there is a health station and an elementary school. For most children, this is the first time that they have a chance to get an education.
Due to the large number of small children in the camp, the camp committee decided to set up a “Nursery School” in mid-2001. This preschool kindergarten currently looks after 71 children, 40 boys and 31 girls. Teaching and supervision are provided by 2 teachers and 2 assistants (for the kitchen, etc.)
The preschool kindergarten is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The children learn the Shan language (a language closely related to Thai of the “Tai language group”) and English. And, what is particularly important for these very poorly nourished children, they receive a regular lunch in their small school.
Thailife Foundation will pay for the the costs of the two educators or teachers with the amount of 48,000 baht per year (approx. 1,000 euros).