Last month MAP Education and Identity Program staff and volunteers attended a training on youth development held in Mae Sot, hosted by the Path2Health organization. The training focused on adolescents and young adults aged 10 to 25 years old. The purpose of the training was to prepare parents, teachers, and youth workers to best support this age group as they navigate the changes that characterize this stage of development. Of the 27 people who participated in the training, 9 were MAP volunteers based out of Mae Sot and 1 was a MAP staff member. MAP staff and volunteers are eager to apply what they learned to the Education and Identity Program’s trainings in migrant communities in Mae Sot.
In January, the Education & Identity program, in collaboration with other Rights for All (RFA) programs, celebrated National Children’s Day with migrant communities in both Mae Sot and Chiang Mai. MAP staff engaged youth leaders and caregivers in planning for two separate events in Phop Pra and Hao Fai, Mae Sot, as well as one event in the Chiang Mai area. The youth leaders were made up of migrant students benefiting from MAP’s scholarship program, and the caregivers included children’s parents and non-parent caregivers. These events sought to create a space where caregivers and children could enjoy one another’s company, in celebration of the bond between them—key to the healthy development of children in the community.
In January, the Women’s Exchange (WE) group in Ban Bon, Bangkok held a meeting titled “How to Build a Healthy Life.” The meeting focused on addressing mental health challenges felt by migrant women. Fourteen migrant women participated in the meeting, including the group’s local WE leader. Most of these women work in seafood and slipper factories in the Bangkok area, where they work roughly 10 hour days, 6 days a week. MAP staff facilitated dialogue around stress and stress management, including how to cope with it internally and how to support others struggling with its harmful effects. The purpose of the meeting was to create a safe space where participants could discuss their mental health openly, in the hopes of calling attention to the importance of self-care and legitimizing the stigmas around mental health.
This month, MAP staff has continued to support Sai Sai, a Shan migrant in recovery following a motorcycle accident that happened nearly a year ago. Sai Sai had been returning home from his job at a factory, where he had been overworked in poor conditions. Since the accident, 23-year-old Sai Sai has been in a wheel chair and has spent a total of 3 months in and out of the hospital because of a hospital-acquired infection. Although Sai Sai was entitled to purchase a health insurance card and enter the Social Security system in Thailand at the time of his accident, he did not have access to either because his employer had not yet registered him. In Thailand, those holding temporary Burmese passports are entitled to purchase a health insurance card and are entitled to enter the Social Security system. Yet, their access to these benefits is reliant on their employer, who is responsible for registering them as migrant workers in Thailand.
This month the Education & Identity program, in collaboration with other Rights for All (RFA) programs, held a 2-day youth camp for migrant students in Mae Sot. Youth camps are held once a year in both Chiang Mai and Mae Sot to bring together migrant students on MAP scholarships and share knowledge with the community. Thirty-five students joined this month’s Mae Sot Youth Camp, with youth ranging from 13 to 18 years of age. The students participated in sessions on sexual health, fire safety and identification documents in Thailand. MAP staff provided lunch and snacks for the students, in addition to plenty of community building games to keep the workshops lively and fun!