Over 800 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. This motivated HART to start supporting Loi Tai Leng, 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.
Recently, HART Trustee Jo and her sister-in-law Fran, an experienced ESOL teacher raised £10,000 to begin an English Language Programme. Fran spent one month living in Loi Tai Leng to get the programme up and running, taking a truckload of food and another of stationary with her from Chiang Mai. The classes were extremely popular often reaching 50 students. Speaking English increases the student’s chances of gaining a place in a university abroad.