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Thai-Myanmar Border - Ranong
Marist Asia Foundation

Background

 

Thailand is a major destination in mainland Southeast Asia, and Myanmar (Burmese) migrants account for the dominant share. These migrants suffer some serious problems in their everyday lives:

 

  • Very harsh working conditions

  • Low income

  • Human trafficking

  • Harassment by police and Military.

  • High risk of illness including Malaria and HIV/AIDS with limited access to medical facilities.

  • Poor educational environment for their children.

 

The Project

 

Ranong is a fishing village in the South of Thailand where the migrant Burmese come to find work and escape conflict. However, this does not lead to an escape from extreme poverty and life in atrocious conditions. The Marist Asia Foundation (MAF) seeks to help Burmese refugees by offering educational opportunities, supporting their basic health need and assisting migrants as they seek a better future for themselves and their children.

 

Education

 

These programs focus on education for the Burmese migrant children. This education offers these children a special hope for the future. Currently there are only 13 Burmese children in Thai schools as it is virtually impossible for them to access a secondary education. MAF currently offer four Education Programs – all of which enjoy high retention rates because they respond to the needs of Burmese Migrants:

 

  • Pre-school Program – provides a positive early education experience for 70 children and allows both parents to work to support their families.

  • Secondary Education Program – provides an opportunity for 100 Burmese students to receive a 4-year secondary education.

  • Academic English Program – prepares selected students for University Learning.

  • Online University Program – Online University Program for 12 promising young adults through the Australian Catholic University. This is the only available opportunity for Burmese youths for a University education. Since its inception, all graduates have gained employment as either teachers, health workers or translators, with some going on to further studies. 

 

Migrant support
 

MAF provides a community centre that meets the special needs of a border town by providing:

 

  • A place of welcome to Burmese migrants.

  • Opportunities for on-going education particularly the teaching of English and Thai languages.

  • A Burmese Library.

  • Outreach support to Burmese Migrant Learning Centers assisting them with English and Computer classes.

 

MAF has been nominated for NGO awards and designated by the Ranong Local Government as an official Liaison Centre with the Burmese Migrant Community and Thai Authorities.

 

Health

 

At Ranong, there is a high rate of HIV/AIDS due to poverty, trafficking, desperation and lack of education.

MAF operates a HIV/AIDS Health Project that responds to the needs of sufferers of this disease and those who are caring for them by providing:

 

  • Emotional and spiritual support through home visitations. In 2015 – 1264 home visits.

  • A community based Patient Health Project by working with families and the Burmese community. In 2015 – 359 nutrition packs and 11 education workshops.

  • Translation and access to hospital services. In 2015 – 2883 translation services  and 683 hospital visits.

  • MAF is the only program supporting the foregoing assistance to Burmese Migrants. Through these programmes the Health Project aims to reduce the spread of the disease and begin to break down some of the stigma faced by those suffering from HIV/AIDs.

 

MAF see their greatest achievement as: “seeing 200 Burmese Migrant Children coming to the Marist Centre every day. Safe. Smiling. Enjoying learning. Growing in self confidence and hope. The more we learn about our students and migrant families the more we recognise the large obstacles and their hunger for education as a step to a brighter future.”

 
What is Lenity Australia’s involvement?

 

Lenity Australia is pleased to be providing financial support to both the Education and the Health Programs to ensure that these worthwhile programs can continue to meet the needs of the poorest of the poor in the Burmese migrant community.

Learn more about
Marist Asia Foundation in Ranong

Marist Asia