The Tomato Village Learning Center (TVLC) is located in Ban Huai Makhuea Som Village (Tomato Village), Mae Hong Son Province, northern Thailand. It offers English language lessons to children ages six to 18. Most of these children belong to Burmese migrant or ethnic minorities, which puts them at a disadvantaged position in society.
The TVLC English language programme is the centrepiece of their organisation. English language proficiency gives the students better job prospects and chances at completing or furthering their education. We believe helping them maintain this programme is necessary in providing greater opportunities for these disadvantaged youth.
The population of Ban Huai Makhuea Som consists of five ethnic groups, most of whom are 2nd or 3rd generation migrants from Burma who escaped the internal armed conflicts within their country. They are among the most disadvantaged groups in Thailand and have limited access to education, healthcare and employment opportunities.
In 2004 Aung Hlaing Hteerasuphakul (Ben), himself an exile from Burma, started the Tomato Village Learning Center to offer a three-year English programme from beginner to advanced level.
Ben has lived through hardship and understands the important role of language education in children’s futures. This school helps open many doors for these children who face numerous socioeconomic challenges.
Goals and Results
We began supporting TVLC’s English language programme in 2014 so that the school could continue educating children and young adults from ethnic and migrant families. The academic year of 2014/2015 saw 53 students enrolled in the language programme. That same year 10 students, ages 13 to 18 years old, graduated from the school.
Our support has expanded to cover the full operation costs of the programme in order to enhance the programme and provide greater stability.