Founded in the spring of 2005, Ban Nai Soi Community Learning Centre (BNSCLC) provides secondary education, practical vocational skills, and community development skills to secondary school-aged Burmese refugees, ethnic minorities and the rural poor living in the Mae Hong Son Province area of Thailand.
The dormitories in the Centre are not just a place to sleep, but also where the students socialise and read. One male teacher is the “caretaker” responsible for looking after the students but the building wasn’t safe. The wooden roof had been severely weakened by termites,causing it to partially collapse and leak during heavy rains. The boy’s shared bathroom was also beginning to collapse due to its age and the use of clay bricks in its construction. Its design was also inadequate as it had no doors and was difficult to keep clean.
The students at BNSCLC are part of a large population living outside of the refugee camps. Not being in the camps leaves the children without any access to secondary education as they don’t have the appropriate documentation that would give them access to government schools. This lack of educational opportunity leaves them with limited options.
BNSCLC provides quality education, meals, and dormitories for migrant and refugee children on the Thai-Burma border. This support comes to children and teenagers who would otherwise be required to find menial labour and find themselves at greater risk of exploitation.
BNSCLC has coordinated with the Mae Hong Son Provincial Informal Education Department to provide high school accredited education to these children and give them the opportunity to break away from poverty.
The public funding available to operate these informal schools is understandably low, almost non-existent. As such the centre has not had sufficient funds to buy enough food or medicine for the students. To cover the shortfall the staff that run the school have been using their own minimal salaries to fund this.
BNSCLC success, sustained efforts and innovative solutions were acknowledged and rewarded by UNESCO in 2018 when they won the Wenhui Award for Innovations in School, Family and Community Collobration for Quality Education.
Goals and Results
The shared bathroom and the reroofing of the boys dormitory was completed on time and on budget.