BBP is involved to some extent in a large number of ongoing projects in Mae Sot. These include the provision of training to so-called “backpack medics” in how to address the emotional needs of traumatized populations, assisting in the counselling section of Dr. Cynthia Maung’s Mae Tao Clinic, and directly funding food, educational, and other services to several worthy organizations. In this newsletter we will describe one of our current projects:
The New Wave School: Migrant undocumented Burmese manual laborers in Mae Sot have almost no options for providing for the educational needs of their children. Sometimes parents and well intentioned locals pull together schools on a shoe string, and some international charities and NGOs have also attempted to found schools and run schools for these children. These often fail, and there seems to be at present an epidemic of such failures. See Link.
BBP has undertaken to work closely with one such school, The New Wave School just outside of Mae Sot. When we first became involved we found an institution where 177 children were being educated in a single grass roofed shed by teachers who had not been paid for six months. In addition, the roof leaked and rainy season was approaching, and the school was located on land for which six month’s rent was overdue. BBP has funded a new roof, paid the teachers, caught up on the rent, and is in the process of developing a program to assist in a sustained, well calibrated, and carefully monitored manner. We are working with Clark University on this project, and it is our expectation that we will develop a model that allows us to monitor the direct impact and effect of our assistance, assess how the children do, and over time understand the impact our assistance is having, and whether our work with The New Wave School can serve as a model for a larger scale program with other migrant schools.
In our next newsletter, we will describe a similar project which we are beginning with the Overseas Irrawaddy Associations, a home for abused and abandoned children, for which we are providing similar aid and instituting a similar assessment matrix.