My name is Naw Paw. I have 5 siblings; of them, it is only me and my younger sister who currently attend the school. Access to education in Burma is very costly if one is from rural areas. To send me school, my parents arranged for me to go to a refugee camp in Thailand, where children from Burma can receive free education. My dream is to be a social worker and bring a change of education to the community where I belong to.
My name is Naw Paw (we use an alias). I was born in October 2000 in Karen state, Burma. I have 5 siblings; of them, I am the third. Two of my older siblings already got married and one of the younger sisters had to quit school due to health condition. It is only me and another younger sister who currently attend the school. My parents are subsistence farmers. A village where I am originally from is in a very remote area. For this reason, it is hard to contact my parents — when they are in downtown, they call me sometimes.
I think if I were in Burma, I would not be able to go to school because my parents cannot afford my education costs. Access to education in Burma is very costly if one is from rural areas as one should pay not only for tuition fees but also dormitory fees. To send me school, my parents arranged for me to go to a refugee camp, Mae La camp, in Thailand, where children from Burma can receive free education. I was living and studying in the camp for 2 years and moved to Hsa Thoo Lei School in Mae Sot, Thailand.
It has been 3 years since I moved to Hsa Thoo Lei Boarding House. I like being here at the boarding house because I feel safe. I have made many friends from different origins and backgrounds. The most important thing here is I have access to quality education without concern over education costs. While living in the boarding house, I have been given numerous opportunities to learn new things; I was able to improve my IT skill, develop leadership skill, and learn to embrace diversity. I also have gained useful skills such as how to weave Karen traditional clothes and play the musical instrument, especially guitar.
I study at Hsa Thoo Lei migrant learning center. I am currently in grade 12, which is the last year at school. After school, I want to attend a post-ten programme that I can improve my English because I want to pursue further study and English is necessary to enter and study in university. I believe that a bachelor degree will help me to have a better job in the future.
My dream is to be a social worker and bring a change of education to the community where I belong to. I think education is the only key to help vulnerable children, including me to achieve the dream.
Dry Food Programme
Dry Food Programme is important to me and migrant children living in the boarding houses. I think without food provision, children in the boarding houses would face many problems to go to school — most of us are from different backgrounds but one common thing is that the majority is not able to go to school as parents cannot afford and support the school fees. Boarding houses and migrant learning centers along the Thai-Burma border provide us free or affordable education and accommodation. They are able to provide those service with the support of funds or donation, such as Dry Food Programme. So I think the programme is indispensable not only to boarding houses and migrant learning centers but also to us.
(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.)
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Poor economic conditions and the lack of educational facilities are forcing students to leave their hometowns in Burma, and seek education and protection along the Thai-Burma border. Boarding houses ensure children access to education and protection. The Dry Food Programme provides food rations to 1,952 children and staff at 23 boarding houses in migrant communities (Thailand) and 15 boarding houses in IDP areas (Burma) managed by the Karen Women Organisation (KWO). The programme provides boarding house children with basic food provisions every month. Children living in the boarding house are protected from child labour and trafficking.
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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.
 Mae La refugee camp: Mae La is by far the largest of the nine camps, with a population of more than 37,000 people or some 6,700 households. More than three-quarters of the population come from Karen/Kayin State, while around 10 percent are from Mon State and more than 8 percent are from Bago Region in Burma/Myanmar. Small numbers also come from Yangon city and the Ayeyarwady Region. [The Border Consortium: http://www.theborderconsortium.org/where-we-work/camps-in-thailand/mae-la/]
 Mae Sot is a city in western Thailand that shares a border with Burma to the west. It is notable as a trade hub and for its substantial population of Burmese migrants and refugees. Mae Tao Clinic is located in Mae Sot [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Sot]