My older sisters did not have a chance to go to school like me and my younger brother, as my parents could not afford school fees. I came to Thailand when I was 6-year-old, staying in one of the refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border and now in CDC boarding house. I’d like to pursue further studies at university if available. After the study, I want to work as a humanitarian worker.
My name is Mu Dah. I was born in September 1998 in Karen state, Burma/Myanmar. My village is located in a very remote and mountainous area. People in my village are mostly farmers who rely on terraced rice paddy on a hill slope and the wild vegetable for their lives.
I have 4 siblings, 2 older sisters and 1 younger brother. I am the 3rd daughter. While I and my youngest brother are able to go to school my older sisters did not have a chance to go to school as my parents could not afford the school fees. They have been working to support my family since they were able to work.
I have been living in Thailand for over 10 years. I came to Thailand when I was 6-year-old. I was brought here by a person who visited my village. I don’t remember clearly but he saw our family situation and he persuaded my parents to send us to school. My parents followed his advice. So, he helped me coming over to Umphiem Refugee camp, Thailand. I was sent to Bamboo Children Home (BCH) which was under Mae Tao Clinic’s support. At that time, my younger brother was too young for the school. Years later, he was also sent to a migrant boarding house located in Pho Phra area, Thailand.
I can say that I and my younger brother are lucky to study. If we were in Burma, instead of going to school, I would have ended up working like my sisters for the family.
I had been living in the BCH for years but this year I was referred to Children’s Development Centre (CDC) boarding house. BCH is being integrated into societies both in Burma and Thailand due to refugee return plan.
In the boarding house, I have learned about diversity: all students are from the different culture and background. I become more confident and independent and am able to look after myself. I feel very secure living here and boarding house staffs are very supportive. Moreover, although it is not a lot of money, I receive allowances from the boarding house every month so I can buy some necessities for study.
I like being here in Mae Sot, staying in the boarding house and studying at school. I have a challenge for my study – I speak only Karen language but the official language for the study is Burmese language at the school. But I will study hard to overcome this.
I am in grade 10 this year. I’d like to pursue further studies at university after finishing my study at the CDC school. In the future, I want to work as a humanitarian worker.
So far, I have no plan to go back to Burma. Although I was born in there, I’ve grown up and I am happy to be here, in Thailand. If Thai policies are changed which doesn’t allow me to stay here, I have no choice but should go back to Burma. But I will try my best to find a way to live here.
Dry Food Programme
The dry food programme is very important for me and other vulnerable children living in the boarding house. The programme gives me access to education and protects me. I would like to thank donors who have been supporting us for several years. With your generous support, we are able to go to school and protected. I once again would like to say thank you for your generous contributions and support.
CDC boarding house is one of the boarding houses directly supervised and managed by Mae Tao Clinic through dry food programme. There are 167 students living in the CDC boarding house and attending the CDC school.
(We conduct interviews with our students in accordance with the MTC Child Protection Policy. Interviews are conducted by our responsible Child Protection staff who are trained.)
Meet Our Other Students here
The Children’s Development Centre (CDC) has continued to provide education to displaced children from Burma. In the academic year 2017-2018, 880 students are enrolled. CDC works on accredited education for its students through the Thai Non-Formal Education (NFE) programme, currently followed by 114 students. The NFE programme enables CDC students with interest in Thai language to access accredited education. A second pathway to accredited education is the Pre-General Education Development (Pre-GED) programme, in cooperation with BEAM Education Foundation and Thabyay Education Foundation.
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 Karen State is a state of Myanmar. It is bordered by Thailand to the east. Majority of refugees and migrants along the Thai-Burma border are from Karen State.
 Umpiem Mai camp has a population of more than 10,600 people. The camp was formed in late 1999 when two former refugee sites were relocated to near a Hmong village called Umpiem in Phop Phra district of Tak Province. [The Border Consortium: http://www.theborderconsortium.org/where-we-work/camps-in-thailand/umpiem-mai/]
 Burma is a multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural society. Officially, the country encompasses eight main ethnic groups, which the government has further divided into 135 different indigenous ethnic groups. According to CIA Fact book, the majority group Burman make up 68% of the country’s population of 55 million. The Burman group is the largest and culturally dominant group in Burma. [Burma Link: https://www.burmalink.org/background/burma/ethnic-groups/overview/]