|Lights in the dark|
When the Sun sets in the daily work comes to an end, but the day is not over yet; it's time to go to school.
On the way to the classroom, a makeshift bamboo decking on top of a bunch of irrigation pipes, the group of students grows in size as they cross the numerous settlements made of huts that litter the farm fields. The fatigue is visible in their faces, but the energy of their laughter does not decline. Euphoria. School time at last.
Silence reigns when the teacher shows up. It’s not fear, is respect. Respect for the volunteer who taught them reading, writing and basic math principles.
After decades of dictatorship and repression in Burma, many have been forced to leave their land to escape from protracted armed conflicts. Most of them belong to communities of peasants to whom a destination like the rural areas of Thailand gives a new hope.
There are many communities of undocumented immigrants in the Pho Phra area, in West Thailand. All these groups cluster along family lines and live in the same farms where they are working. The kids also belong to the working force of those clans, not as exploited children but contributing to the household economies.
However, immigrant organizations consider that access to a school system is a necessity for all these kids. An education program linked to the Burmese legislation has been directly implemented in the communities in night shifts, when the kids have finished their work in the fields.
Many of these Burmese children attend every day the Night School Program; a studies plan adapted to the work schedule of these small laborers who spend their days working on the farms to help their families. Studying on this program, they can only reach grade 4, which is not enough to get accepted into the official Thai schools, where they would get an education according to the standards of their country of residence.
Knowledge as basic as literacy and the rudiments of mathematics might mean for these children the difference between be trapped socially in a foreign country or to get access to a better life.
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