Since 2002 a growing number of Shan refugees have found shelter in the Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp next to Piang Luang, Thailand. Although many Burmese refugees in Thailand must contend with uncertain legal status and are required to stay inside their camps, Thai authorities have granted young refugees permission to pursue an education outside the camp.
Through generous donations secured by us, nine students from Koung Jor have received supplementary scholarships to cover essential living expenses while furthering their education at quality English schools. While there, the students receive the training and education necessary to support and develop their communities.
Over the past 30 years Burmese ethnic minorities have fled their homeland in the hundreds of thousands to escape the country’s internal armed conflicts. Over 400 of these refugees are living in Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp, located on the Thai-Burmese border.
In principle the residents of Koung Jor are not allowed to leave the camp. However, Thai authorities have shown lenience in allowing students to pursue an education outside the camp.
The camp leadership runs projects to secure a safe and dignified existence for the camp population. One of these projects is an educational programme to prepare students for entrance exams at two schools that offer scholarships: Wide Horizons and the English Immersion Programme (IEP). The scholarship includes a two year study programme (including a one year internship) at these quality English speaking schools in western Thailand. The schools equip students with leadership skills to develop communities as teachers, translators, peace builders and human rights defenders.
Since 2012 we have been working with camp leadership to award supplementary scholarships to students within the camp. These supplementary scholarships cover basic living costs such as clothing, hygienic needs and food. With the aid of academic and supplementary scholarships students have a better chance of succeeding in school, improving their livelihoods and helping their communities.