New Projects: Rice for SAW
On May 1st, Room to Grow will start working with its newest partner, Social Action for Women. Based in Mae Sot, SAW provides important services to the Burmese population living outside the refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. Much of their work takes place in and around the factories where thousands of illegal Burmese workers attempt to make a living in sweatshop-like conditions.
In addition to operating six housing centres, SAW also runs an income generation program, a gender-based violence program, a health education program, and education program and a women’s exchange program. The health education program alone reaches out to over 20,000 people in the migrant community every year, indicating just how important the organization is to the local community here in Mae Sot.
SAW supports women and children in six housing centres in Mae Sot. They shelter children seeking an education from Burma’s Internally Displaced zones (IDP areas) and helps them go to school at one of their education programs. They shelter women in need at their Women’s Crisis Centre. This year they will open a shelter specifically for women and children who have been trafficked. They provide shelter and care to children with HIV and other health problems at their Health Care House. And finally, they have a safehouse for infants and young children who have been abandoned or whose parents have died. Many of the children in the safe house have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
On May 1st, we’ll be making our first delivery of rice to the SAW safehouse, where we will help to feed the 50 children who are there. Some are just newborns, others are as old as five. We’ll be providing rice to the safehouse every month and working to develop a program which will improve the children’s wellbeing. Check here for updates on the program, starting in June.