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Mae Tao Clinic 20 Year Anniversary

Mae Tao Clinic 20 Year Anniversary

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Published by Michelle Katics
This is the 20 year anniversary book for Mae Tao Clinic (www.maetaoclinic.org), "From Rice Cooker to Autoclave".
This is the 20 year anniversary book for Mae Tao Clinic (www.maetaoclinic.org), "From Rice Cooker to Autoclave".

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Published by: Michelle Katics on Sep 12, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/31/2011

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formation sharing and capacity build-
ing programs for migrant teachers. In
July 2000 the group changed its name
to the Burmese Migrant Workers Edu-
cation Committee (BMWEC), and the
group began working tirelessly on
fundraising, advocacy, capacity build-
ing, and curriculum development. The
increased level of coordination and
standardization of services has lead to
stronger programming, with the com-
munity showing a greater sense of
ownership in the education system.
There have certainly been chal-
lenges; work continues in standardiz-
ing the curriculum used among the mi-
grant schools, a very difficult task
when a community of people from

FROM RICE COOKER TO AUTOCLAVE | 43

from child labor.

In response to major increases in
the number of boarding children, the
organizations working with education
and boarding facilities in the Mae Sot
area began a collaborative response
through the development of the Coor-
dination Team for Displaced Children’s
Education (CTDCE). With three work-
ing groups: the Boarding House Work-
ing Group, the Education Working
Group, and the School Health Working
Group, the CTCDE works to provide
emergency food assistance to boarding
houses, as well as develop a registra-
tion system for boarding children, child
protection policies, and standards of
care for boarding houses.
With so many concerned individ-
uals and organizations coming together
to address the challenges of child
rights, education and security, progress
can certainly be seen, but challenges
still lie ahead. Many of the children
suffer from psychosocial illness – they
have come from conflict zones and
have often witnessed or experienced
great violence and human rights abus-
es. Work is being done to support these
children, to provide them with tools for
stress management and to appropriate-
ly deal with conflict, helping them to
be part of a diverse community and to
participate in the healing of the com-
munity.

The diversity of the border popu-
lation is certainly a celebrated concept
at MTC, with the slogan “unity in di-
versity” seen throughout the commu-
nity, on posters and the backs of t-
shirts, but this diversity also imposes
challenges. Curriculum development
for such a diverse collection of ethnic
groups living in a Thai community has
been a particularly difficult challenge.
It is a community that that wishes to be
integrated into whilst simultaneously
maintaining a sense of identity and cul-
ture. The curriculum providers have
also been faced with the problems of
which languages should be taught,
what history, which political views?
Moreover, there is the challenge of
finding a balance between the strong
academic focus of the Thai education

system, and providing students with
the necessary life-skills to prosper
within the community (as the majority
of students will not have the opportu-
nity to attend formal post-secondary
education). With so many disparate
considerations, the development of a
standardized curriculum has been far
from easy.

The diversity of the teacher popu-
lation is also a challenge; these are in-
dividuals with various levels of train-
ing, who come from different ethnic
groups, political backgrounds, up-
bringings and ultimately, with different
understandings of the situation in Bur-
ma. Furthermore, these individuals
have come to the border with different
goals; some have come to stay, some

have come as a stop-over before reset-
tling in a third country. Staff turnover
continues to be a major problem among
the migrant schools.
Of course, none of these chal-
lenges will put a stop to the tremendous
efforts being made by the community;
it is a community of people which
seeks to foster strength, hope, and
knowledge in the future generations.
Dr. Cynthia puts it simply, “working
on child protection is a collaborative
effort,” and this strong partnership be-
tween the Thai and Burmese commu-
nities means that work will continue
towards ensuring the rights, safety,
growth and development of the chil-
dren on the border.

Some working group member of Child Protection Service.

44 | FROM RICE COOKER TO AUTOCLAVE

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