In 2002 Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp was established next to the town of Piang Luang on the Thai-Burma border in northern Thailand. It is a close-knit community of over 400 Shan refugees. The camp offers English language classes in the evening for both the refugee children, and many children in the nearby villages. This service not only provides greater opportunities for the Shan refugees, but a positive link between the camp and the local community.
This project provides a small stipend for the teachers who provide English language lessons to over 100 children and teenagers. Without this stipend, the teachers would not be able to provide for their basic needs like food and clothing. This would force the teachers to find jobs working on farms or in construction, and the English evening classes would have to be cancelled.
Currently there are 117 students who are studying with 73 students from inside the camp and 44 students from outside the camp. They are from different 3 villages and different ethnic groups, Shan, Chinese, Ta_Ang and Thai.
Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp has become ‘home’ to some 400 refugees who escaped the internal armed conflict of Burma. While the people at Koung Jor have been displaced from their homes, they are making the best of their situation and try to improve their opportunities in anyway available.
One of these ways is through English language education. Without English language skills, the refugees at Koung Jor have few options other than manual labour.
Additionally, the English evening classes have been viewed as an excellent service by the people from the local community in and around Piang Luang. This helps create a positive relationship between the refugees and the local community.
Goals and Results
The eight teachers hold eight separate classes at various levels depending on the student’s age or level of English competency.
The programme runs for ten months throughout the year (with a month-long holiday in April and October). At the end of each cycle, students are required to take a test. The goal of the programme is to achieve adequate test results from over 80% of the students.