MTC supports many boarding houses along the Burma-Thailand border. These houses provide much-needed security, shelter and food to thousands of people annually.
Migrant Boarding Houses
All of the migrant boarding houses supported by MTC are directly connected to migrant schools; therefore, the school staff members manage the boarding houses. In many of the schools, there is no separate boarding house and the children sleep in the classrooms. Often one or two teachers live in the school in order to help care for the children and organise evening activities. Many of the schools have little or no outdoor play area making conditions very cramped for the children. Several schools do not have access to clean water. Although we don’t have the capacity to budget for infrastructure upgrades, continuous improvements do occur through two important mechanisms. First, the Child Protection Network (CPN) and CTDCEP meetings provide a forum for problem solving and matching any available resources or funding with critical areas. Second, many schools were originally created by their local communities and supported by them as much as possible. Parents, community members and staff lead efforts to make repairs, and seek community funding for critical projects.
Refugee Camp Boarding Houses
The refugee camp boarding houses are organised and supported by a number of community organisations. Most of the boarding houses receive basic dry food rations and cooking fuel from the standard camp rations, which are provided by the TBBC, but still require support for fresh food and hygiene supplies.
Internally Displaced People (IDP) Boarding Houses
In the Internally Displaced People (IDP) areas, students often have to travel long distances to access the nearest schools. Boarding houses have been established to accommodate students from outside the local area to prevent them from having to walk through dangerous areas where they may be vulnerable to military troops and landmines. The communities in these areas experience great hardship, and food security is one of their main challenges. They have little access to relief organisations and depend on their impoverished communities to support them.
Children’s Development Centre (CDC) Boarding Houses
The CDC provides a safe living space for students without homes. Boarding houses are a necessity in the migrant community, because many children that seek education have parents who are working in places that do not allow dependents, or who are living in extreme poverty. Moreover, other children who are orphaned or have escaped from abusive homes need protection from child labour and child trafficking, which are common in the Thailand-Burma border region. The boarding children are documented according to the following categories (these are working definitions):
Category (A) Both parents deceased
Category (B) Separated from parents without contact
Category (C) Separated from parents with contact (by mail, phone, etc.)
Category (D) Other (Single parent, parents in jail, etc.)
The staff at the boarding houses are trained on child rights and child protection issues, and work together with staff and boarding house masters from other migrant, refugee and IDP boarding houses to revise and update standard policies, guidelines, and procedures for ensuring protection and quality of care for children in boarding facilities. Each child’s personal information is properly documented and filed on a standard registration form. During the weekend and school holidays, the students engage in many extracurricular activities such as weaving and athletics, as well as English and computer classes. During school holidays whenever possible, the students are encouraged to return home to their families, but those who remain at the boarding facilities enjoy numerous festivities with staff members and staff families. The boarding children also participate in community volunteer works such as cleaning in the community, and food preparation and distribution during community events.