Challenges Particular to Educating our Target Group
They Have No Rights
Illegal migrant workers (made up of Refugees from Burma and Thai indigenous peoples) have little to no rights or security concerning their jobs, health, residence and lives in general. They are at the mercy of their employer or whomever smuggled them into the country. They are usually required to live on the site they are constructing (with their families) from start to finish.
Poor Living Conditions
There may be anywhere between 25-500 workers living on a site with limited access to public water spouts, no plumbing or toilets and a few hours of redirected electricity run into their camps a day. They may have a curfew or be required to stay at the camp when they are not working.
They also never know when and where they will be moved next. Generally they stay in the city limits as construction companies like to use the same crews in limited areas. When they move, we have to reorganize our transportation and schedules and we don’t often get long to do that as the workers themselves are not warned ahead of time.
If your wondering why they would move their whole families to a construction camp, unfortunately they may not have had a choice. Their area could have been under fire in Burma and a trafficker encouraged the whole family to leave together (this ensures a lower rate of people fleeing the construction camps when they find the wages and conditions aren’t what was promised). It is also very uncertain when or how they will be able to return and many villages are under constant conflict so the main breadwinner (male) won’t want to leave his family in the middle of that without protection.
Poor Nutrition and hygiene
Our students are tired and malnourished; this presents another challenge to teaching them. It is hard to study and concentrate when you are hungry to the point of malnourishment. Many of them have skin diseases, lice, open sores and chronic conditions such as eczema, lung infections and asthma as a result of being exposed to various environmental pollutants. Our older students have faced a lifetime of malnourishment when they arrive to Thailand and often arrive with preexisting conditions that may be expensive and a lengthy process to treat.
We provide the following when funds allow us to: vitamins for the children, basic first aid supplies for home use, basic hygiene supplies such as soap, shampoo and toothbrushes and paste, mosquito nets to stave off malaria and dengue fever and emergency care in critical situations.
Lack of Funds
We provide all services completely free of cost to the students and even though all of our staff are volunteers, our biggest struggle remains funding. If you have any innovative ideas for fundraising or wish to host a fundraiser in your own community, let us know. You can also make a direct donation to us to support our projects by clicking the big yellow sun at the top of the page.
Thank you, Thai Freedom House Family