A new school year!
by Luigi Jorio
What is the goal of the project?
For more than 15 years, the boarding school at Wat Arunothai in northern Thailand has been hosting children and young migrants who left their villages in Shan State, in Myanmar (former Burma). Virote Nanta, a Buddhist monk, created a safe place for abandoned and disadvantaged children in his temple.
The boarding school is located in the village of Nong Ook, Chiang Mai province, a few kilometers from the Burmese border. The children at Wat Arunothai receive food, clothes, medicine and have the opportunity to go to school. The goal of the project «A new school year!» is to raise funds for the boarding school and to offer a better future to children who otherwise would have no prospects.
In 2022, we have already successfully launched the Wemakeit initiative «Children of Wat Arunothai.» Thanks to the participation of many people, we were able to provide food, boarding and schooling for the children of the boarding school for one year. A gesture of solidarity that we want to repeat so that these children can continue to go to school and grow up in a safe and joyful environment. And for that we need all you.
This project means a lot to us. We got to know the children of Wat Arunothai a few years ago and their stories of suffering and abandon deeply impressed us. We regularly travel to Thailand as volunteers, often during our working holidays, to organize school classes and play activities. The children’s smiles and the light in their eyes have taught us that every gesture, even the smallest, can make a difference.
Why is this important?
Tens of thousands of people, including many children, have fled their homes in Shan State, Myanmar, because of armed conflicts and poverty in rural areas. Their hope is to find a better life in Thailand. Former Burma has been a land of violence, persecution and violations of fundamental rights for decades. The situation deteriorated further with the military coup in February 2021. The Burmese generals repressed in blood the demands for democracy and freedom, bringing the Asian country back to the darkest years of its history. More recently, the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis have fragilized the existence of many families even more.
In Thailand, people fleeing Shan state are not recognized as refugees. They are forced to accept dangerous and underpaid jobs to survive. Parents are often unable to take care for their children and many children are abandoned to themselves. Without facilities like the boarding school at Wat Arunothai, they would be at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking, sex industry or drug trafficking.
How is the money used?
The money collected is donated to the boarding school at Wat Arunothai. It is used to buy food, water, clothes, medicines, toiletries and to cover all school costs (school supplies, uniforms, transport). One Swiss franc per day is enough to provide food, shelter and schooling for one child. Like in 2022, the aim is to support the 23 children and young people currently living at the boarding school for at least one year. Any additional amount will allow to help more children and to support the boarding school for a longer period.