Education Programs


We believe that education is key to helping refugees and migrants reach self-sufficiency and independence. Working with the New Wave Learning Center in Mae Sot, Thailand, Burma Border Projects is empowering the children of Burmese refugees and migrants through English learning classes and general financial support for the school.

English language proficiency is essential for those wishing to do business around the world. Whether working in the tourism industry, international development, or any other field, knowledge of English increases employability, critical thinking skills, and adaptability. With this in mind, BBP has sought to make English language classes an essential component in the curriculum of any school we support.

About New Wave Learning Center

The New Wave Learning Center was created in 2009 as a way to help support migrant and refugee children in the Mae Sot area who have little to no access to educational services. With over 30,000 children in the area, the task of providing them with a basic education has become a massive challenge. Currently, many children in the area are not attending school regularly because of a combination of distance, lack of space in public schools or the fact that their parents would rather have them working, even at abysmally low wages, to help support their families.

Little or no education presents additional threats to these children. Without access to education, children have an increased risk of drug abuse, human trafficking, and forms of exploitation. When considered in the context of migrant and refugee issues in Thailand, lack of education is at the top of the list.

New Wave Learning Center works to address these challenges by providing free education to children of migrant workers living in the Mae Sot area. Today, with the support of Burma Border Projects, the school educates 150 children in K – 8th grades, with 33 boarding students.

Financial Support for New Wave Learning Center

financial support for education in mae sotBefore children can gain equal access to education, the infrastructure and support system must be in place. Children deserve to have access to a well functioning and supported school. Equally important, staff and teachers deserve to work with honor and dignity. In order to make this all happen, we provide financial support to the New Wave Learning Center in the form of teacher and staff salaries, fresh drinking water, rent for the school, electricity, food for the boarding students along with other resources.

Beyond financial support, we at Burma Border Projects believe that the children and teachers of New Wave Learning Center deserve to have access to clean water and electricity. Access to clean water is essential on many different levels and has an impact that extends beyond the immediate. When clean drinking water is readily available in schools, the occurrence of illness and disease is substantially reduced as are the number and frequency of school absences.

New Wave Learning Center currently provides classes for children in grades K through 8. But the standard curriculum in Burma extends through grade 10. In the near future, we plan to add grades 9 and 10 thereby better preparing our students for working back in their home country. Currently, children in grade 9 must choose to either migrate back Burma to continue their education or remain in Mae Sot where they may not find placement in a high school. Help us achieve this goal by making a donation today or by joining our Teacher Sponsorship program.

English Language Classes for Burmese Children

English Language Learning Mae SotOur English program focuses not only on English language education but on the practical, real-world application of these skills through cross-cultural interaction. In partnership with the Harrow International School in Bangkok, our English language learners are paired with a pen-pal in another part of the world. These children exchange letters, ideas, and cultural points of view. Through this unique program, not only are Burmese migrant children learning English, but they are forging a connection with the wider world.

Are you an educator, school administrator, or parent and interested in getting your students or children involved in our pen-pal program? Please fill out this form and we will be in touch with you soon!

Parent Teacher Association for New Wave Learning Center

In order to further support the New Wave Learning Center and empower our community of Burmese refugees and migrant workers, we helped establish the New Wave Parent Teacher Association. This PTA performs a wide variety of functions vital to the overall management of the school.

Perhaps even more importantly, this Parent Teacher Association encourages the families of our students to get involved in their children’s education. By creating this PTA, we are able to engage the parents and make sure that everyone in the community understands the value of a good education. This has an impact on everyone: teachers, parents, children, even neighbors, and friends.

burmese children mae sot

Extra Curricular Activities at New Wave Learning Center

Working with the local organization PlayOnside, our students have supervised weekly football trainings, allowing them to learn the value of teamwork, all while improving their physical fitness. Currently, we have three teams eligible to enter a yearly football tournament. This gives children an opportunity to work hard towards a specific goal and feel proud of themselves and their achievements.

To provide children with additional learning opportunities and other programs vital to their development, we work with Right to Play, who offer life skills training and exercises. We also work with the organization Kickstart Art, a unique organization providing art therapy lessons to help our children work through any trauma they may have experienced.

The children at New Wave Learning Center all come from difficult backgrounds and many live without their parents or families. And yet, every day they come to school full of smiles and joy. They teach us perhaps even more than we teach them.

Please consider donating to Burma Border Projects or joining our Sponsorship Program. Help us provide support for New Wave Learning Center and keep our educational programs running.