In 2007 Ecologia Youth Trust embarked on a new partnership with Thai NGO Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation (SNF).
Supported by the Big Lottery Fund our first 3-year project from February 2008-January 2011 restored livelihoods and empowered devastated communities of traumatised and marginalised migrant workers and their families devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Southern Thailand. The project was focussed on improving relations between the Thai and Burmese people through leadership training, community activities, joint activities for women and youth, and working to include migrant workers in Thai labour associations. The primary beneficiaries were 50,000 migrant workers from Burma and their children who live in the Southern Thai coastal provinces of Phang Nga and Ranong with an additional 450,000 people indirectly benefitting from the project by gaining more rights and entitlements.
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.
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.
No Human Being is Illegal – Aung San Suu Kyi