The run down and tired condition of the building from the outside is the total opposite to laughter and joy of children inside. It is because all children are welcomed to come here for learning even if they do not have Birth Registration (BR).
This building is one of the Migrant Learning Centres (MLCs) which are located within communities with a high migrant population in Chumphon province. The MLC has partnered with Empowering Civil Society Organization for the Protection of Migrant Children (ECPMC) Project, implemented by World Vison Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) with a support from the European Union (EU). The objective is to raise awareness of BR among migrants to enable their children to access the government’s health, education and other services, as well as the protection of their basic rights.
This MLC enrolled 30 Myanmar migrant children aged between 4-14 years old. There are two Myanmar volunteer teachers. Thus, the children are split into 2 levels. Level One is age's 4- 6 years and Level Two is 7-14 years, one teacher for each level. The teaching has mainly focused on the Myanmar curriculum.
“We teach the children to speak and write Myanmar language so that they are able to communicate when they go back to Myanmar as they won’t be here for a long time. They’ll go back Myanmar anytime soon,” said Mrs San, volunteer teacher at the MLC.
Nevertheless, a number of Myanmar children has entered Thailand’s formal education, based on their right to education according to the Constitution of Thailand, B.E. 2542 (1999) and the National Education Act, B.E. 2542 (1999), which stipulated a policy to support education for underprivileged children and children without Birth Registration or legal identities, that they are entitled to equal educational opportunity and the tuition fee subsidy per student, just like Thai children.
Apart from teaching, the teachers at MLC work closely with ECPMC project staff, assisting them at Birth Registration (BR) awareness events in the local area. The children are invited along to these awareness-raising events to help demonstrate traditional Myanmar culture in the form of dance.
Therefore, the MLC is not just a place of providing education for migrant children. It bridges them to Birth Certificates, the official documents issued by the government which indicate their origins and confirms their identities. Birth Certificates are the passes to the protection of their rights and risk reduction from human trafficking and exploitation. That is the focus of ECPMC project which has been implemented for 3 years in 3 districts in 3 provinces – Mueang district of Ranong, Mueang district of Chumphon and Mae Sot district of Tak.