There are currently over 200 children living without their parents in shelters directly run by SAW (Social Action for Women), the community-based organization on the Thai-Burma border where I have been volunteering since September this year.
The kids at SAW are the same as any I’ve met: curious, mischievous and full of beans (sometimes literally – yellow bean being a staple food). Although play is an important aspect of child development, limited funding and the prioritisation of basic needs mean they don't have a lot to play with. This most impacts the youngest children (0-5y) who are not yet in school.
The situation is becoming even more difficult with Burma in transition as aid starts to move from the border to inside Burma/Myanmar.
Call to Action !! This year, resist the Christmas-Industrial Complex, inject a bit of meaning into the consumption-hijacked festive season, and send some spare Xmas change over to the Thai-Burma border (esp. those of you who would have otherwise bought me a present!)
The money will be used to buy presents – blocks, books, art materials, educational games and sports equipment – to help the SAW kids learn, develop, have fun and exercise their budding imaginations outside of school.
It wil also contribute towards securing their basic needs for 2014, including clothes, dry foods and essential medicines.
Thank you in advance – and Merry Christmas!!!
I am a medical doctor with an MA in human rights and experience working at an international NGO. I have been volunteering on the Thai-Burma border at SAW since September 2013.
SAW is working to improve the lives and well-being of displaced Burmese women and children living on the border through its health, education, gender, protection and advocacy programs. The Children’s Crisis Centre, Safe House and Boarding House provide a safe and supportive environment for vulnerable children to grow, learn, recover from trauma, receive healthcare, and attend SAW school.
Since it was founded in 2000, SAW has established these shelters to respond to the different needs of children in the Thai/Burma border area, in recognition of the fact that children who have had different experiences require unique responses. The Children’s Crisis Center provides support to children who have experienced some form of abuse; the Safe House provides care to abandoned and orphaned children; and the Boarding House provides a home for children from conflict areas or children’s whose parents are migrant workers, and are unable to access education. In all of these interventions, SAW keeps the needs of the children at the center of their work.