In 2007 Ecologia Youth Trust embarked on a new partnership with Thai NGO Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation (SNF). Supported by the Big Lottery Fund the 3-year project from February 2008-January 2011 restored livelihoods and empowered devastated communities of traumatised and marginalised migrant workers and their families from Burma in Southern Thailand.
As tsunami aid moved from relief work to a longer term approach, the project addressed the complex needs of the marginalised migrant workers by using a peacebuilding approach, particularly amongst the youth, to facilitate harmonious integration into the Thai community.
The project also trained and built the capacity of local youth and community leaders from Burma to move towards self-reliance in their communities. At the same time effort was made to restore cultural integrity and mental health and assisted with Human Rights and registration issues.No Human Being is Illegal - Aung San Suu KyiThe project benefitted some 50,000 migrant workers from Burma and their children
who live in the Southern Thai coastal provinces of Phang Nga and Ranong. SNF and many other Thai and Burmese NGOs have worked since the tsunami to support Burmese in the area including Human Rights support, providing rudimentary education and bringing in Burmese and Mon monks for spiritual and practical support as well as counselling. The project has built upon their work to facilitate a programme that moved towards long term sustainable wellbeing.
Peacebuilding through Youth Empowerment:
an annual peace building camp for 75 young people from different ethnicities including Burmese, Mon, Mogen, Thai Muslim and Thai Buddhist who were all caught up in the tsunami, to heal together, and share their cultural diversity to build bridges between their communities. Teachers at Burmese Learning Centres for migrant worker children's also received training and support including the introduction of Thai language teaching to integrate 150 of the children into Thai schools.
Watch an inspiring video of our first Peacebuilding Youth Camp at Pang Nga, April 2008.
Community Self Reliance & Sustainability: an annual three month Grassroots leadership training that empowered local migrant worker leaders to become active in moving their communities towards self reliance with a small project fund to support their local activities.
Human Rights, Advocacy & Registration: the main activities were advocacy work including education, negotiation, training and dialogue with police, employers, sub contractors and officials. There were also publications for Thai authorities on human rights, labour rights and registration and general support to migrants for registration and networking.
At the end of the Project
A series of human stories about the migrants and their lives were published to show their humanity and vulnerability to the Thai public and build bridges of peace and respect.
150 Youth and GLT course participants were active in their communities initiating small projects and ongoing community organisation to improve conditions for migrant workers. More Burmese youth are integrated into Thai schools, youth from different ethnicities have become friends and are interacting together with fewer instances of racism. There is more support and fairer treatment for migrant workers by local officials, sub-contractors and employers.
We also brought together our Russian partners at Kitezh Children’s Community and our Thai partners to share experience and expertise with one another.