Enote 105 – Comings and Goings

May 24, 2014

Dear Friends,

Last month BREF celebrated its 17th year of operation. During that time as the circumstances of the refugees' lives change, we have seen a number of projects come and go. Rarely does it happen that we stop a project that we would like to continue, but the Tay Mu Der IDP village school is just such an example. Do Mo our friend and the project leader has increasing responsibilities serving his people in the KNU (Karen government) and simply cannot afford the time to visit and monitor this project every year. We will keep the picture of the school and its people on our website to remind us that we simply can't do everything we would like to do in part because we depend on our refugee friends for help.

We reluctantly say Good Bye to the people of Tay Mu Der village and wish them well.

Good Bye Tay Mu Der School

Tay Mu Der Village School

Hello Thoo Mweh Khee School

A school building Some Teachers Space

Immigrants as well as refugees have come to Thailand over the years, and a large number of schools for their children have grown up around the Mae Sot area. These schools generally teach Burmese and English in preference to Thai. Because our objective has been to help the refugees accommodate as much as possible to their host country, we have supported education in Thai, and thus generally have not supported these schools. Now that situation is changing for at least two reasons. First it seems everybody wants the refugees to return to Burma, and even though the refugees themselves are very reluctant for good reason, it seems inevitable that ultimately most will return. Second ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations an economic and political association of ten countries including Thailand and Burma, may well adopt English as its common language.

Prompted by these changing attitudes and by some students who had asked for support to attend English language instruction, Liz and I decided to take the short trip from Mae Sot to Pho Phra, and visit Thoo Mweh Khee. There we met Brandon, Peacefully, Noosh and Dermot shown above, and were impressed with their dedication to the school and the quality of their language teaching. We decided as a trial to give them funds for one year's support to administer the GED test. If passed this test certifies that the taker has 1.) English language skills eequivalent to an American high-school graduate, and 2.) has academic skills equivalent to a high-school level diploma. We'll see how it works.

And Somethings Very New

A New York Times Blog:

Just last week Professor Deborah Knuth, a neighbor, friend, and supporter of BREF, wrote a comment (see it here) on a blog by Nicole Sganga, a youth working in Arakan State with Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, having to do with education for the Rohingyas and our role in that. I wrote a comment as well and have been communicating with Nicole about our work since then.

Neihi Best Score in all of India in Horticulture:

In 2010 we gave a scholarship to a young woman named Neihi to study Horticulture in the Central Agricultural University in Arunnachal Pradesh. I will let her (slightly modified) report continue the story. "Hope you are fine. I am fine by the grace of our Almighty God. First of all I would like to tell you that my education is going smoothly because of your kind support. My industrial training at Chhattisgarh, India took around 2 and half months. I was placed at one of the most prominent companies in the field of agriculture and horticulture. We learned about grafting and budding of fruit crops and vegetables. Two students are attached to each farmer and our mail goal was to introduce modern technology into the traditional farming which was practiced there. I am now working hard for the upcoming ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) entrance exam." Just last week she continued. "I have informed earlier about ICAR exam which was held in April 2014. I got 1st position for Horticulture in all India. I am going to Delhi in June 30th for counselling that will start in August. I please ask your support for my continued studies as I am facing financial problem. Thank you." I'm pretty sure we'll find a way to continue her support. Who's next? Perhaps one of these. Children from Lawngtlai

Received Grant from the International Foundation:

Finally I'd like to report that last April we received a grant from The International Foundation for $10,000 to support our work with the Karen IDPs in Burma.

Best Wishes to all,


Your day is not finished until you've done someone a favor.