Members of Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, visited the Thai border town of Mae Sot to discuss education needs of migrant workers’ children living in the border region.
The National League for Democracy sent an education network led by U Phyo Min Thein to visit Mae Tao Clinic that is located in the Thai border town of Mae Sot where the group met with Dr Cynthia Maung.
The 19-member that comprised the NLD education network intends to donate 12 million kyat (approximately USD $15,000) to eight Burmese migrant schools based in Thailand early this week.
U Phyo Min Thein, coordinator of the NLD’s education network spoke to Karen News.
“We’ve come to donate funds for migrant education and to speak with Sayama Dr. Cynthia Maung to discuss the situation and difficulties of migrant education here [Thailand]. We will meet with teachers from eight migrant schools here and then go to Myawaddy [Burma] where we will hand over funds to them.”
U Phyo Min Thein said that his group discussed with the teachers about situation of Burmese migrant workers, including the education needs and health issues. Also discussed were the coordination and cooperation from both sides of the border to meet the needs of migrants and the practical preparation of what should be put in place for the return of migrant communities.
Speaking to Karen News, Dr. Cynthia Maung said.
“After meeting with them [members of NLD education network], we will try to open a way where we will be able to coordinate health and education issues on the border and inside the country [Burma].”
Each year the Mae Tao Clinic treats as many as 150,000 migrants and refugees from Burma and is currently experiencing a budget shortfall. The Burma government allocates as little as 4% of its budget on both education and health. The country’s health care system and infrastructure is worn out, resulting in hundreds of thousands of its citizens seeking health care in neighboring Thailand.
U Phyo Min Thein’s group said that the 120 million kyat donation were raised at the second anniversary ceremony of the NLD education network in December 2012.
U Phyo Min Thein explained to Karen News why the donated money is being given to the border group now.
“The situation in Burma is changing, more donors are providing assistances inside. After we’ve raised our funds, we thought about what we should do with it. Migrant communities got more assistance in the past, now they are getting less funding – we decided to donate our funds to them.”