Meeting with Global Neighbors:
There are over 100 other non profit groups in Mae Sot all helping in a variety of ways to assist in providing better education for the 13,000+ displaced children in the area. One of the larger organisations is a Canadian charity called Global Neighbors. The Building Trust team were able to get an appointment with David Heppner, Director of Global Neighbors who has been heading up work in Mae Sot since 2004. David and his local community in his home town of Prince Albert, Canada kindly donate hundreds of items which are placed in a shipping container every year and brought over to Thailand to be donated to the local schools.
David is a great asset to the the area and after a very interesting meeting we hope that we will be able to work with Global Neighbors in the future to develop more schools in the Mae Sot area. At Global Neighbors Headquarters in Mae Sot there are fantastic workshop facilities where the team train locals in an apprenticeship scheme teaching woodwork, welding, mechanics and more. We hope that we will be able to gain a team of apprentices to help on the school build.
Meeting with Translator:
As I am not up to scratch on Thai conversation we organised to meet a translator, a lovely lady named Mey. We had a really nice meeting with Mey who is Burmese and speaks fluent English. Sadly as our school is a Karen school we need a translator who can also speak Karen. Mey kindly taught us a few basic Burmese words and vocab and is going to source a Karen speaker for our upcoming meetings.
Meeting with Youth Connect:
The Building Trust team had a great meeting with Patrick Kearns from Youth Connect. Youth Connect pose the question, “What happens when these students become young adults and have to leave the system? Where will they go next?” Youth Connect provide training, apprenticeships and career services so students can transition to safe, productive and independent lives. We were very interested to meet with Patrick and hear more about the great work he is carrying out in Mae Sot. The organisation offers paid apprenticeships in skilled work which are carried out in the workshops mentioned at Global Neighbors. We hope to work with Patrick and his team of apprentices to build the winning design from the ‘School 4 Burma‘ competition. More details to be confirmed soon! Check out this short video showing just a few of the apprenticeships on offer:
We met up with Albert and Jan to review a new scale model of the school design. We discussed possible materials to use for the school floor possibly a stone tile structure or a wood/cement material. Albert made a suggestion that if we were to keep the raised flooring we should raise it even higher to ensure that poisonous animals don’t ‘move in’ underneath the classrooms. We are now in a process of refining and finalising the design details.
Meeting with HKU Volunteers:
Tomorrow 9 students from Hong Kong University will arrive to volunteer on the ‘Moving Schools‘ project we are very excited to have the team work with us on the build. Yesterday we met with the team leaders Neha and Edward who previously volunteered teaching English at Kwe Ka Baung school last Summer. It is great to have them as part of the team! We look forward to next week when we will start an introduction session with our volunteers. We currently have 9 volunteers from Hong Kong and three from the UK along with a camera man arriving next week to film the progress of the school construction.
Meeting with Imagine Thailand:
Another great charity found in Mas Sot is Imagine Thailand another Canadian run organisation who offer support to the community of Mae Sot through supplying water systems to schools in the town. We met with volunteer Dave Hanson who moved to Mae Sot with his family to help the local people, his family has now been in the area for two years.
Imagine Thailand works with ERDO to provide the funding needed for the water systems in the area along with a range of funding programmes such as Sponsor a School linking Canadian schools with schools in the Mae Sot area. It was great to meet up with Dave who is hoping to help out on the Moving Schools project throughout June.
Many thanks to all of those who have met up with our team this week!