Dear Friend of Shan Refugees:

If the above photo looks familiar, it is because this is the same group of Shan students—one year later—that appeared in our last newsletter! Each year we give scholarships to children in this agricultural workers’ camp near Chiang Mai, Thailand. Notice that many of the boys in the front row are wearing purplish blue trousers and pale lavender shirts, their school uniforms. Several of the girls are wearing their red and dark blue uniforms. Many of you have supplied these uniforms through your donations and the resultant scholarships. The scholarships are very small, cover just the cost of uniforms, shoes, and—for the older children—bus transportation to school.

In 2015 we were able to provide scholarships for 78 Shan migrant children. We were also able to provide part- time migrant camp schooling for between 50 and 60 children. Many thanks for helping these deserving, hard- working young people!

In 2016, the Thai baht is valued at approximately 35.2 baht per dollar, so our expenses will be less in US dollars. Below are calculations of scholarship costs They vary from 1,000 baht to 8,000 baht per student weighted according to the child’s age, need, and the distance they must travel to attend Thai schools. (Since my calculator has limited capabilities, I am using 35 baht per dollar below.)

Scholarships (annual amounts):

  1. 1,000 baht = $29.00
  2. 2,000 baht = $58.00
  3. 3,000 baht = $87.00
  4. 4,000 baht = $116.00
  5. 6,000 baht = $171.00

6 . 8,000 baht = $232.00

Migrant Camp Schools: We support schools in two migrant workers’ camps, but give scholarships to the

neediest students in four workers’ camps.

In 2016, it will cost 238,840 baht per year, or approximately $6,824 US dollars for the two migrant schools. There are about 60 students in the two schools, so it will cost about $114.00 US per year to send a child to a migrant camp school.

Shan Youth Power (SYP), the group that operates our programs in Thailand used to get money from two other large charities, in addition to the money they got from us.Those charities, like most these days, are now looking for projects in Burma (Myanmar). That has not changed the need of those Shan children whose families lost their land to the Burmese military or who could not make enough money to feed their children in Burma and fled to Thailand.

Because SYP is now funded only by our charity, they had to cut expenses. Only the two young men who do the administrative work, as well as teach, are getting paid. (3,000 baht—less than $100 US dollars—per month for nine months of the year.) The five young women teachers, all of whom are now going to school and teaching in other locations, continue to teach at three migrant camp schools, as volunteers. Imagine that: They each have one or two jobs, go to school, and they teach the migrant children free! Below is a photo of our altruistic and talented teachers. (The young man standing at the far right teaches at a different school. Notice that we “tall” subjects stand in the back row!)

So our projects and the students in Thailand thrive, but what about Burma?

  1. By now you likely know that Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), took most of the parliamentary seats in the recent election. The present constitution does not allow her to become president, but she has vowed act as president through her political party. http:// www.nytimes.com/2015/12/22/world/asia/after-victory-in-myanmar-aung-san-suu-kyi-quietly-shapes-a- transition.html

     

  2. Former and present Shan students are skeptical about whether or not Suu Kyi’s government will improve conditions for the Shan, who have recently been under attack by the Burmese military: http:// www.irrawaddy.org/burma/102237.html

     

  3. Another area that does not look promising is the treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/19/world/asia/myanmar-election-rohingya-muslims.html
  4. http://www.myanmar-now.org/news/i/?id=48eec213-1ac5-41fd-8104-afc91878927b

    If you wish to donate at any time, you may send a check to me at: Bernice Johnson, Schools for Shan Refugees, 2928DeanParkway,3A,Minneapolis,MN 55416. The only charges we have ever incurred are those levied by the bank. The board pays all other expenses,which means that 99.9% of all donations go directly to the children. You can also donate through Pay Pal at our website: www.shanrefugeeschools.org

Bernice Johnson, Director Schools for Shan Refugees www.shanrefugeeschools.org

Photo below: With board member, Josh Kletschka, at scholarship ceremony in Thailand.

Ready to help us make a change?

We greatly appreciate your financial contribution to our important work. Click the donate button to submit your donation securely via PayPal.