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The Brackett Foundation

enote 24               January 29, 2006

 

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Introduction

 

As I complete this enote, Liz and I are in enjoying the comforts of the Lytton Hotel in Calcutta, a small stop between our sojourn to Aizawl and return to Bangkok.

We had left for our fifteenth trip to Asia at 4:00am on January 10, and arrived in Bangkok about thirty two hours later at 12 midnight on January 12. A few days and a dozen students later, we left for Aizawl in Mizoram State of India. This year we decided to make a side trip to Zokawthar, a small village directly on the border of India and Burma.

 

 

Poverty

 

The circumstances of a refugee in India are rather different from those in Thailand. In Thailand refugees are generally confined to camps, not allowed access to public schools, and are in constant fear of arrest at the whim of the Thai police. None of these Laldimpuiicircumstances confront the refugee to India, but deep, devastating poverty is every where, and life is a constant struggle for survival.

A society where life is dirt cheap, where no social services of any kind are available, and where compassion is usually too costly to consider, works a grim logic on the people. I will attempt to illustrate this by a few examples we picked up on our trip Zokawthar a few days ago.

With the help of small committees of teachers and other refugee people, we support over one hundred students at various levels of study in India. Most of them are doing quite well in their studies. LalDimMawii, pictured at the right, is chair of our committee in Zokawthar. Here are some excerpts selected from stories she told us.

LalChhanHina 11 Lalchhanhina years of age, broke his leg playing football in 2001. He stayed in a hospital in Champai for several weeks, but they failed to find the brake in his leg. Finally his family took him to Burma for an operation to repair the leg, but the job was poorly done and the bone developed an infection. He has been to Burma for four operations to kill that infection, and he must go back again to remove some “rotted bone” in an attempt to secure his recovery. In passing it was added that his father died some years ago. LalChhanHina is a very good student and despite his frequent illness and missed school, he completed class 4 with a 1st division pass. He is pictured at the left. As his picture shows, moments of fun can be had even for the disabled refugee in Zokawthar.

LalThanKimi withdrew from class 3, and would not return. Her teacher punished her for not completely memorizing an assignment. The teacher demanded that she pull on her ears and complete 200 deep knee bends without stopping. She tried but fell over after 60 knee bends, and was unable to continue. She became afraid of the teacher and simply refused to return to class. Her mother was too frightened to complain to or about the teacher. Obviously she failed class 3. After some encouragement and persuasion by our committee, she is starting class 3 over again as school begins this year.

LalTanPuii, a 12 year old girl failed class 3. We were told by way of explanation that her parents are divorced, and she lives with her father, two younger brothers and a younger sister. The father was hit by a automobile and can no longer work properly. Because she is the oldest girl in the family, she is the substitute mother, cleaning, cooking, and caring for her siblings simply does not leave enough time for her to study.

Liz and I are particularly interested in having one or two of you join us on our trip to Mizoram State of India. As the picture of a small section of the capitol city of Aizawl shows, it is a very scenic place, but you wont be there just to enjoy the visual spectacle. You will be engaged with people who are amazed and deeply appreciative of the generosity we share with them. Liz and I enjoy our work with these people immensely, and we want some of you to share in the interesting and fulfilling work we do. Come join us in Mizoram State, one of the more remote and unusual parts of the world.

 

 

January Activities

  • Jan. 12 - 15: Interviewed university students from Thammaset, Rangsit, Mahidol, Bangkok University and Sukothai Open University.

  • Jan. 15 – 16: Traveled to Calcutta and Aizawl, and met with the Chin Education Committee to discuss extended scholarships.

  • Jan. 17: Met with Regional Chin Women’s Organizations from: Saiha, Lunglei, Lawngtlai, Sairang, Sangau, and Bualpurii. Received reports and discussed future of program. We spent some time with each group discussing the importance of mentoring their scholarship children.

  • Jan. 18 – 20: Traveled to Champai and Zokawthar, met with students and committees.

  • Jan. 20 – 24: Returned and completed work with students and committees in Aizawl, and traveled to Calcutta.

Tom & Liz Brackett

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(315) 824-3435   The Brackett Foundation P.O. Box 8 Hamilton, NY 13346   tomb@twcny.rr.com

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