Social Action for Women is a Burmese organization in Mae Sot which provides social support to the local community. Their programs cover health, education and social services and reach out to tens of thousands of migrant workers and children in the Mae Sot area. One of Social Action for Women’s main shelters is a Safehouse for orphaned and abandoned children. There are currently 55 children living in the Safe House, aged from 1-13. Many of the children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS or other diseases. Others were abandoned by their parents as babies, or were referred by the local community because their parents or extended family were unable to care for them.
The leader and caregivers at SAW Safehouse are committed to giving their children all the care and opportunities that they can. One of these opportunities comes from sending them to Thai school. Although in theory the Thai education system is open to all children, in practice, there are many barriers preventing refugee and migrant children from attending, such as the cost of uniforms or the language barrier. For children from the Safehouse who have no families to return to in Burma, a Thai education opens up the opportunity of recognised educational qualification, a future in Thailand and an escape from the poverty cycle.
Room to Grow has been supporting the SAW Safehouse since 2009 in several small ways. We provide deliveries of eggs and yellow beans, adding vital protein to the children’s diet. This year, 2012, we are also funding stipends for five caregivers who live with and look after the children 24/7. We also have several individual donors who sponsor some of the children attending Thai school. There are currently 47 children attending school – over half of whom don’t yet have sponsors, with money coming from SAW’s general funds. If you would like to know more about sponsoring a child for a year, please get in touch!
The SAW Safehouse was our focus partner for our blog posts during September 2012, so take a look at our blog to read more about our latest activities. You can also click on our gallery for some recent photos of the children.