13110 The Recyclers
April 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
by Vincenzo Floramo
with Migrant Education (ME)
in Tailandia/Birmania, Asia
Along the Thai-Burmese border, Mae Sot has become a refuge for many Burmese immigrant families.
There are at least two million Burmese nationals working in Thailand; their children need education.
Thailand shares a 2,401 km border with Burma/Myanmar and is host to a steady flow of migrants, refugees and other displaced people. Burma/Myanmar has suffered decades of rule by a brutal military dictatorship prosecuting a ruthless war against many ethnic minorities. The Thai government has pursued a humanitarian policy, affording an estimated 160,000 refugees temporary asylum. But for those who want to escape extreme poverty and repression, their only option is to join the ranks of the estimated 1.8 to 2 million migrant workers in Thailand. The vast majority of these migrant workers are undocumented, poor, uneducated, and do not speak Thai.
They are therefore highly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The majority suffer from a lack of adequate housing and shelter, high rates of malnutrition and disease with little or no access to healthcare, and generally have to accept employment on any terms whilst having to accept whatever other injustices they may suffer at the hands of the general population (theft, physical or sexual abuse, harassment, extortion) without recourse. Unlike refugees, such migrants do not qualify for official protection from international agencies. A large number of migrant people live in the Mae Sot area (up to 500,000).
Vincenzo Floramo. Was born in Trieste, Italy in 1968. After completing his studies he attended a two years photography school in Spain.
In 1992 Vincenzo began to live a nomadic life between Asia, South America, North America and Europe.
He has been committed to exploring, learning, connecting with and photographing the diverse expressions of human being.
For the last few years he has been spending most of his time in
Thailand where he has become involved with several groups.
He has spent extended periods of time living in refugee camps, getting to know and photographing the Burmese there.
With his projects he collaborated with Der Spiegel,Irawaddy,The Guardian, and Io Donna.
– 2012 Honorable mention IPA Night photography
– 2012 Honorable mention IPA Editorial Political
– 2012 Fosco Maraini Prize
– 2011 Second prize Porfolio Ariosto
– 2011 Bronze medal Paris Prix Award
– 2010 Honorable mention Paris Prix Award
– 2010 Honorable mention IPA
Sky Blue School has been built at the edge of the Mae Sot dump where illegal Burmese migrant workers lives.
About 200 children between the ages of 3 and 13 are provided with instruction and food.
The students of Sky Blue are living around the local rubbish dump where their parents rummage during the day and night for recyclable and reusable materials.
Without the school many of the children would be forced to sustain their own living expenses by working there too.
Even if they frequent the school on weekends some time they help their parents on the recycling task.
As these children come from extreme poverty, nutritious meals can be rare. Sky Blue supplies the children with daily nutritious lunches to feed growing minds and hungry bellies.
ME survey and provide financial support for the school. Unfortunately two donors have recently cut funds.
Therefore for the next school year ME have difficulties to cover the expenses of Sky Blue.
Next year (2013/14) all grade 1 children will be paired with a Thai school, allowing for subsequent year access to mainstream Thai education.
Migrant Education (ME) formed in July 2011 as an umbrella organization for a number of migrant learning centres (MLCs), to coordinate funding and look at other areas to assist migrant children accessing an education.
The objective of this project is to fund the running costs of MLCs currently supported by ME, to provide education to migrant children from their surrounding communities, who may otherwise not be able to receive and education. ME cooperates with the Thai Ministry of Education (MOE), which gives the students and teachers protection from arrest and deportation and gives the learning centres protection from being closed.
The aim of ME is to provide the necessary financial support to the learning centres, while putting in place various new initiatives to improve education provision and to make effective savings by setting new standards for the education of migrant children in the Mae Sot area.