Safe Schools Program

MAP’s Safe Schools Program is an initiative that seeks to empower migrant schools in the Mae Sot area with the skills to adapt to the effects of climate change and respond effectively in the event of a disaster. The program is in its second year, and is run at 3 schools that are run by, and for, the Burmese migrant community living on the Thai-Myanmar border. Each of the 3 schools receives a full-day workshop once a month, and a new workshop is organized every three months on a topic selected by MAP staff in coordination with the school administrators. Previous topics covered by the Safe Schools Program have included earthquake and flood preparedness, and for this month’s workshop, fire safety was the chosen topic.

For this month’s fire safety workshop, MAP staff teamed up with the Mae Sot Fire Department to teach children and teachers about the elements of fire, what safety protocols to follow in the event of a school fire, and how to stop a fire using a fire extinguisher or alternative methods. In the morning session, the two firefighters gave an engaging talk on fire and fire safety, which was translated from Thai into Burmese by MAP staff for the students and teachers. In the afternoon session, students and teacher were able to apply their learning in a practical setting under the supervision and guidance of the visiting fire fighters. The students and teachers practiced fire safety protocols during a simulation, and also practiced using a fire extinguisher. MAP staff donated a fire extinguisher to the school for future use in case of an emergency.

The migrant school where the event took place this month is responsible for 370 students, ranging from toddlers to young adolescents. The children come from migrant families living in rural areas along the border that are particularly vulnerable to the devastating consequences of natural disasters. The school’s director believes that the knowledge gained through the Safe Schools Program is beneficial to both students and teachers because it can be practically applied in the school setting and in their homes. According to the school director, most families in the migrant community use fire to prepare food in their homes—which are largely constructed using flammable materials—so this month’s fire safety workshop is particularly useful for the community.

The Safe Schools Program is looking forward to organizing future workshops at participating schools, with upcoming topics such as clean water and sanitation, as well as how to make emergency clothing out of everyday materials.

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MAP staff and students at the fire safety workshop.

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MAP staff and children taking a brief break to play a fun game during the fire safety workshop.

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A Mae Sot firefighter walking a student through how to use a fire extinguisher.

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A Mae Sot firefighter engages students in learning about the elements of fire. 

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