School Day on the Border:  Northern Thailand

The fighting hasn’t stopped. Whatever the news may say, there is still gunfire in our villages. We cannot go home. Not yet.” –Krungjaw Learning Center School Director

Krungjaw Learning Center serves children from the poorest of the poor in a remote village of Northern Thailand. Situated next to a Shan refugee camp, Krungjaw opens its doors to over 150 children from five different ethnicities, most of whom migrated to Thailand to escape violence in Shan State’s border area.

Partners Asia, together with the Hussman Foundation, has supported Krungjaw Learning Center – which functions as a pre-school and kindergarten for children ages 3 to 6 – since 2008. The Learning Center serves as a bridge for integrating migrant children into the Thai school system. In 2014, 49 children transitioned into the local Thai public school. All of these children were equipped with the basic Thai speaking, reading, and writing skills to make this possible.

While Thailand’s economy is growing, pockets of poverty still persist, particularly amongst the stateless, migrants, and ethnic minorities. The community in which Krungjaw is located is one of these affected areas and access to proper nutrition and healthcare are often limited. Krungjaw provides one healthy meal and one milk a day for each of its children; for some, this is the only proper meal they will have that day.

Many INGOs have withdrawn assistance from projects in Thailand in order to support new work in Maynmar. Yet, while media portrays a more peaceful Myanmar, hostility persists among different ethnic groups, leaving the families of Krungjaw fearful of settling back home between the crossfire. Partners Asia’s support is now more important than ever.

Despite the challenges facing the people of the Krungjaw area, the Learning Center stands as a testament to the strength and fortitude of its people. While hardships prevail, a new generation of multi-cultural youth are building new futures using Krungjaw Learning Center’s foundational education.

Photo credit: Amanda Mowry