Over 700 students attend Loi Tai Leng School, located in one of six displacement camps along the Thai-Burma border.
A brutal ethnic-cleansing campaign by the Burmese Army has caused thousands of Shan people to flee their homes, unable to return because their land is still occupied by the Burmese Army or other ethnic groups and it is not safe, and in some cases, their villages simply do not exist anymore.
Over 6,200 people live in these border camps, which are supported by HART’s partner Shan Women’s Action Network. In October 2017, funding from the international community largely spent on food aid was cut, in order to be redirected to Western Burma and the Rohingya Crisis. This motivated HART to start supporting Loi Tai Leng School, with the help of Palmer’s Green School who have raised over £1,000 for food for the students.
More than half the children who attend Loi Tai Leng School board either because they have been orphaned or abandoned during the on-going conflict, or because they live in remote areas far from the school and the journey is too far/dangerous to do every day. The children have no other option if they want to access school. Education is extremely important to these children as success in exams is their ticket to study at a university in Thailand and access legal work. Shan/Burmese people are not officially recognised as refugees in Thailand forcing many migrants into dangerous and illegal work to make money to feed their families.
At the end of 2018, HART Trustee Jo and her sister-in-law Fran raised £10,000 to help launch 3 projects at Loi Tai Leng School. Firstly, the funds enabled the construction of a dam in the valley below the school. Water from the dam has facilitated agricultural development to improve school food security and nutrition awareness for children, as well as to facilitate a fish farm. Water from the dam will also be used to provide hydroelectric power to the school -crucial during the rainy season when existing solar panels are ineffective- using a dynamo donated by Shan people.
The money raised has also facilitated the first-ever capacity-building and skill-learning workshop for 100 of the most dedicated teachers and staff from the 6 schools for displaced children along the border. During the week-long workshop, teachers and staff will get the chance to meet with those from the other 5 neighbouring IDP camp schools to share experiences, expertise, skills and stories for the first time ever.
Following her fundraising success, Fran -an experienced ESOL teacher- then spent one month volunteering at Loi Tai Leng School, where she assisted teacher’s with their English lessons and held her own after-school English lessons.
Loi Tai Leng School is now desperately seeking another volunteer English teacher. If this may be of interest to you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.