I’m Jess and i’ve been interning at Freedom House for about 2 months. The organization presents an outlet for expression and growth in many aspects of daily life for the students, a blend of ages, all refugees from Burma. Structurally, a homegrown practice, the founder Lisa Nesser is intertwined with the school as intrinsically as the cement that composes its walls. This connection allows for each unique personality and creation to have a marked impact on the house and the group as a whole. These footprints of individuality are what fuel the eagerness to learn and my corresponding desire to teach, igniting much brighter prospects than those that stain their past. The school is led by a group of volunteers who make their way through the doors several days a week without compensation. The good nature of these contributions adds life to the energy that perforates through the wooden beams. The opportunities that exist within these walls are seldom possible outside them, as the remaining ties of suppression based on culture, language, and ethnic background are evident daily.
My responsibility within the house takes on many shifting roles depending on the time and the day. Primarily, I am an English teacher to the students. It is my job to teach them the basics of a language that will allow them to establish themselves as members of a growing world community. My own fluency in this Roman alphabet, as well as the color of my skin, unfairly allots for a level of privilege that is currently not available to the students. Incensed by this notion, I fulfill my other days attempting to implore the international world of aid organizations to help support our cause and weed out grant opportunities. These are not easy tasks as the legalities that define the ability to promote change are binding. Ironically they work based upon the same biases that perpetuate such inequalities. Perusing the internet for these small available resources, I also publicize the school and the plight of the children in news postings, volunteer sites, and in any area of high exposure. In total, my extensions of influence reach directly to the children in the clarification of the issues surrounding “foot fingers” and to advocacy work that will hopefully help support the school long after my many months rooted on Thai soil have passed. The work has directly made its way into my heart and soul and what I contribute now holds a deeper meaning that what I could have ever imagined.
The students constant improvement contests directly to their earnest desire and motivation to learn. This personally is one of the most admirable of traits from my perspective and compliments my intentions to benefit their lives in any way possible. I’m learning from the students the capacity to find faith in humanity even after such horrendous mistreatments is simply possible with kindness and compassion. Things that are too often in short supply, but are readily available within the family structure of Freedom House.