*Note by Bianca- June 2013: Daylight School was a successful three-year project in the orange farms of Fang. When we we began the project in 2010, there were high populations of Shan refugees fleeing into the country, but after a three years the overall population of refugees decreased drastically. Additionally, at the end of the 2013 school year, our main teacher's contract expired, and BF decided to implement the next stage of the plan, which was to transition the students at Daylight to certified government schools to continue their educations. To read more, check out our Child Scholarship Program. *
Having no papers and not speaking the local language makes for a highly uncertain life in Thailand. These families must avoid the authorities while trying to eke out an existence doing jobs no one would take for wages and conditions no one else would accept.
For their children, education is essential for any hope of a positive future. Being able to speak, read and write Thai are necessary skills if they are ever to further their education in Thailand and enter a government school. Aside from Thai they also study their native Shan language and culture, this helps to preserve identity and keeps them connected to their heritage.
Since the school began there have regularly been some 25-30 students in attendance and the teachers are using the school break to find more children living on nearby farms to come an attend the school. Some of them are as young as four and others as old as twelve. It has been necessary to split the groups up, which given the one small classroom we have, has only been achieved by having the older, more advanced class in the outdoors. This has worked well for several months but now with the monsoon rains coming we need to find a different solution. It's now summer school holidays here in Thailand so this is the time to make changes.
Fortunately there is an old abandoned building located on the orange farm where the school is held. It used to be a non-formal school run by another organisation some years ago. They stopped this smaller school when they opened a much bigger school some 20 km away. The building has fallen into disrepair, but the basic structure - the walls and the roof, are in good working condition. There are several small rooms and a flat courtyard area out the front which can be used for morning and afternoon assembly as well as a play area for the children. It's a great spot but the building needs a lot of work.
The farm owner has authorised this building to be used as a school and the head teacher has been lobbying us since the school started to use this building as school headquarters.
So we basically need to renovate, repair and regenerate this building in time for the new school year, including fixing up the WCs that will service the school.
Now as 'luck' would have it, we currently have a professional builder from Canada, Chris Savard, with us on the monk for a month program. Chris is finishing his 4 weeks in the temple this weekend but is staying in the area to kindly donate his time and talents to help us get this job done. He expects with the help of the locals it will take around 4-5 days of work.
What we do need are some funds with which to purchase tools and materials.
For the building materials, transport to the location (one hour from town), paint, tools and doors for the WCs, we estimate we will need between $800 -$1000. One reason for this amount is that we need to buy some power tools, these will stay with us and be an investment for future projects. Armed with these resources, Chris and the team can make a fine and long lasting school building.
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