Vehicle Tender for Refugee Project

Vehicle Tender for Refugee Project

ADRA Thailand is seeking to purchase a vehicle with the following specs.

 

Toyota Hilux double cab

2 wheel drive

2.4 ltr engine

Mileage not over 70,000 km

Not more than 3 years old

 

Please submit all tenders to ADRA Thailand, 178/95 World Club Land, Soi 2, Moo 7 , Chiang Mai, Hangdong Road, T Nungkwai, Hangdong District, Chiang Mai 50230.  Please indicate the subject, “ADRA Germany Vehicle Tender”.  All tenders should be received in the above mentioned address by close of business, Friday, Sept 22, 2017.

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Triumph for Artee

Triumph for Artee

We have been following Artees journey over the past year as we have assisted her in applying for Thai Citizenship, which began long before ADRA or UNHCRs involvement.

Artee first began preparing documents eight years ago before submitting for full nationality 4 years ago. Unfortunately after several years with no word, the district office informed her they had lost her application and that she would have to re-submit. The village elders had trouble supplying her with important documents needed to re-submit and other complications further slowed progress. However, with ADRAs assistance in chasing up loose ends Artee was able to lodge an application early last year and was rewarded for her efforts on the 24th November 2016. On this day Artee was declared a Thai Citizen; by taking part in a naturalization ceremony and receiving her very own Thai Identification card.

The ceremony saw over 300 stateless individuals naturalized and become official Thai citizens, many of them children. Several represented their communities in traditional dress, and countless others supporting the occasion. It was an exciting time for those who now have a myriad of opportunities and a bright future ahead of them.

 Artee is the first one in her family to get a Thai ID card in her family, and she says that this has changed her future.  “I can go outside my province and continue my studies. I can get a loan for my studies now. Before I felt very bad, my friends joke and say I cannot leave my village or go anywhere. My parents don’t study, they don’t know about the law”.

 By having Identification, Artee now has access to facilities and benefits not possible before, paving the way for possibilities. She has only left her district once for a school trip, and now she can leave whenever she pleases; perhaps even apply for a passport to go abroad. Government healthcare benefits are accessible and job opportunities are easier to come by.  There was a time when the Government offered scholarships to Artees peers, and unfortunately those without identification were denied the same access to financial aid. This is a constant in the life of a stateless individual; overlooked and denied what is so easily accessible to those around them.

 Her enthusiasm and vigor was contagious as Artee described her plans to ADRA and UNHCR staff on the day. She intends to continue studying and obtain a bachelor’s degree in education, if her financial situation will allow it. Subsequently, Artee has her four siblings and mother to consider before going off to university, but is confident that she will find a way.  If she cannot support herself and help her family she will work for a few years to save money and then proceed to go to university. Artee would like to be a teacher, but also has an eye for business and would love to run her own furniture store one day. This way she can provide for her family and use her skills in a practical setting; currently she studies business at school.

 Now she is asking ADRA to follow up with her siblings nationality application, so they may have the freedom she is ready to embrace. Already people in her village are asking questions on how they can get an ID card, and she tells them to go and see ADRA. “They prepare documents and can help you. They go to the District Office and do follow-ups, they do everything they can to help you. I am very happy they helped me, thank you ADRA and UNHCR”.

Artee holds up her new identification card at the naturalisation ceremony.

Photograph by Brittanie McLean

Artee and her friends who also took part in the ceremony and received identification

Artee stands with a district officer after the ceremony.

Previous Project Manager Titi hands out ID cards with the other officials.

One of the students who received their ID cards at the ceremony.

ADRA Reaches More at Community Event

ADRA Reaches More at Community Event

Last week, the Community Sensitisation Project attended a community outreach event to spread ADRAs reach in areas with high amounts of statelessness.

The event was held at a local school about 2.5 hours north-west of Mae Chan (near the Thai-Myanmar Border in Northern Thailand), and began at around 9am. It was a half-day event that showcased a variety of organisations who worked in fields of agriculture, education, health; and some provided donated items (e.g books, bedding). Students from the local University and Vocational Training Colleges offered services such as health clinics and hairdressing at free or discounted rates. The health clinics aimed at educating school students. The Thai Government also made an appearance through district officials and the fire department.
 
ADRAs Stateless Reduction & Community Sensitisation Project (CSP) is part of UNHCRs Global Action Plan to end statelessness. Thailand has an estimated 443,862 stateless individuals; a high prevalence compared to most countries. The project provides consultation and legal advice for nationality application to these communities.
 
The day was quite a success for ADRA, with staff constantly advising locals and gathering information for the duration of the event.  The Program Manager conducted several case studies for more complicated issues; offering legal advice and support aided by his law background. Many held no documentation whatsoever, but ADRA was able to fill general forms and collect fingerprints. The few who had documentation (e.g birth certificate) were able to get more processed on the day.
 
Many whole families showed up who were stateless, hoping ADRA can provide the solution. The closest service point for ADRA from the school is 1.5 hours away which makes it difficult for some to access. The collective event proved most beneficial to communities in the surrounding areas. Families have gained better understanding in this issue and their personal situations as a result.  It is the hope of ADRA that these events will continue to reach geographically challenged communities and provide exposure to organisations that can foster change.

From Accountant to Activist

From Accountant to Activist

When La was a little girl, her village had a visit from an organization called ADRA. Her people had never had much to do with ADRA, and so knew little of the benefits that may await them. During the visit, the Country Director gathered all the children and asked them what they wanted to do when they grew older. Some wanted to be teachers, doctors; even a farmer. Yet only La stated she would become the village Chief.

She wanted to be able to come back to her people; provide children with a better education and help empower them.

Most villagers have no Thai Identification, which makes it hard for children to get into schools. Fortunately, La and three of her friends were provided scholarships from ADRA to attend school. As part of the program they each received their first bike to ride school. They attended school and were happy as the principal was understanding and helped them with many things. “I was happy because each term I was given a new uniform, new books and pencils” La said. Unfortunately, not everyone in the community was so understanding of these indigenous students.

La stands close with Project Coordinator Sunita Winitkoonchai, who has been with the KGS project since Katima was at the shelter.

Photograph by Brittanie McLean

 

It started causing lots of pressure upon the school. All these outside influences ended up causing La to leave, where she stayed at home with her family. A short time later a staff member from ADRA’s Keep Girls Safe (KGS) project came to the village and asked her if she wanted to go and live at the KGS shelter. She had trouble deciding as many  of the villagers were cautioning her not to go, and likewise telling the other girls. They had heard about scams before, and with no Thai ID her family would not be able to visit for fear of getting caught by the police. It was her father who helped her decide when he said to her ‘Go to the shelter, for every step you take in life is for your future’. La never understood that until today, but she did as he told her. She would go to the shelter.

 La was the second group of girls to be brought to the shelter in Chiang Rai and was in year nine at the time. At first she did not like the shelter at all, there was no feeling of belonging. Yet in time, and with the help of a staff member she came to call the shelter home, and the girls family. She connected to the others she shared a home with; and even felt an obligation to care for those younger than herself. Partly because she was older than many of the other girls; but also because they were now her family, and she loved them.

 Perhaps an even greater gift than having a safe place to live or going to school was her eagerness to let God into her life. The girls had the opportunity to go to church every Saturday, have communal Bibles at the shelter, and other Bible study periods throughout the week.  Many girls have come to accept Jesus into their lives through this program, and more still have this opportunity today. “I stole a Bible from the shelter” she admitted. She now walks around her house all the time singing songs from the gospel.

 La attended vocational school for 3 years in accounting and upon finishing the staff at the shelter asked if she wanted to stay or leave the shelter. Although the shelter held many memories and she would miss those there, her family wanted her closer to home. Her move to Chiang Mai would be both closer to her village and study. La found her own place and is currently living and supporting herself.  “KGS helped me to adjust myself to different types of girls and how they live, and that’s how I can live on my own and deal with many different people”  After a further two years studying an associate degree in accounting, La went on to obtain a bachelors degree at Ratchapat University in accounting; graduating in 2013. She is the only one in her family to have obtained such a level of education, and so she is looked up to by her family and others in the village. She did not particularly like accounting, KGS staff told her it would be much easier to get a job in this field than an arts degree, and so a good part of her life was taken up with all things accounting!

However, for all her studies La’s passion has been present, and now she has the chance to use her gifts to help others. There is so much she is involved in right now that we can hardly begin to understand what a brave and compassionate woman she is.  Currently, she is a committee member for the Indigenous Woman Network in Thailand in which she represents the Lisu people. This committee gives projects to those on the committee to work with communities.

They discuss how to manage natural resources by involving men and women. La had noticed when she was younger many disputes were about who owned what land in the village and so for the committee produced a village map.  This map showed all the different plots of land and who owns them, a document that is now presented in court to settle disputes. She makes a point of telling women whenever she has the chance that women’s rights are equal to men, and for them to stand up for themselves.  La is also a member of the Forestry Restoration Committee. She acts as a translator in court and is contacted about any issues on the forest surrounding her home. Unfortunately, in ten years time the government wants to take back the land the indigenous people live on so they can regenerate the forest. This will displace all the people living there, and La hopes with hard work and determination they will come to a compromise. “So essentially you are still living up to being chief of the van ADRA staff member remarked during a recent interview.

This is a small part of the work La currently is doing. Her good deeds have been captured on film, even receiving a ‘Good Samaritan’ award for what she has accomplished.  La doesn’t know where she would be without this project that helps girls out of unsafe situations. It provides pathways to a brighter future. Every chance she has she asks if she may visit the shelter and would like to share her story with the other girls.

Southern Thailand Flooding Wreaks Havoc After Torrential Downpour

Southern Thailand Flooding Wreaks Havoc After Torrential Downpour

The situation became severe in January 2017 as increased rainfall became torrential, causing severe flooding across twelve provinces in Southern Thailand. This is the worst flooding that Thailand has seen in thirty years, causing more damage and destruction than even the 2011 floods.

The twelve affected provinces are as follows; Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Patthalung, Songkhla, Trang, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Krabi, Ranong and Prachuap Khiri Khan. At least 91 deaths have been reported as of the 2nd February; 4 persons are still stated as missing and the evacuation of 65,000 individuals has occurred across the provinces. It has been revealed that a total of 590,000 households and 1,800,000 people have been affected in the Southern regions.

 Nakhon Si Thammarat province was the most severely hit by the flooding, where rainfall was measured as high as 700 milimetres in Maung district and over 400 milimetres in other districts. Thai average rainfall in the southern regions is usually about 132 mllimetres, making this over five times the regular amount of rainfall in this period. The monsoon season usually begins in August and ends October, however this year the rain has continued to fall for much of January, an unusual precedent.

 During the days following the downpour, it was reported that the flooding had also damaged 70 government installations, 270 drains, 126 weirs, two reservoirs, 4,314 roads, 348 bridges and 2,336 schools. One particular incident of flash flooding washed out a bridge on the country’s main north-south highway alongside several others, backing up traffic for 200 km (125 miles). Many rivers; such as the Ta Pi River; flooded its embankments and nearby communities, forcing them to evacuate to higher ground.

Organised chaos at the distribution site. Photography by Sarawut Tummati.

 In addition to structural damage, farmland and supply yields have been compromised. Southern Thailand is home to many rubber plantations, yielding much of the world’s rubber supplies, and the expected yield for 2016-2017 is 10% lower because of the flooding. Close to 1 million rai of farmland has been destroyed by the continual rainfall and prolonged flooding. Of that figure, more than 990,000 rai were crop plantations, 39,000 rai were livestock farms, and 19,000 rai grass plots.

 Currently, much of floodwaters have been drained and relief efforts have been carried out in affected areas thanks to the joint efforts of the Military, Government and NGOs working in the sector. More than 70 water pumps and 50 jet propulsion machines were installed to discharge water to the sea, and local army bases have been providing vehicles and manpower for rescue operations; many houses have also been relocated to prevent additional flooding. Subsequently, it is estimated that 897,000 farm animals have been evacuated; 480,000 kilograms of animal feed distributed and 14,000 animals received medical treatment.

 The National Command Centre for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation is evaluating areas that flood repeatedly and the overall risk in the southern region. They hope to improve the current monitoring and prevention system, which includes remodeling warning and evacuation systems, as well as equipment and shelter for when flooding occurs. At this time, 251.37 million baht in donations has been received to assist those in crisis and the government is still welcoming additional funds.

Foodkits delivered to victims in crisis.

Handing out food packages to families on the ground.

The emergency response by ADRA Thailand was implemented in Prasang, Cahiburi & Vieng-Sra District, Surathani Province Thailand. Initial assessments by Phuket Mission Hospital indicated the greatest needs of affected communities were food and water. It was announced that ADRA Thailand & Phuket Mission Hospital would deliver food aid to these areas in Sai Khueng, Prasang District; Songprak, Chaiburi District and Tung Luang, Vieng Sra District. The response was split into stages; with two distributions. Distribution one was carried out to 218 families in Prasang & Chaiburi District and distribution two for 260 families in Vieng-Sra District. The areas selected for ADRA intervention were decided by working with the Mission Hospital and local authorities to narrow down the sub-districts, and subsequent villages most overwhelmed by the flooding. Families chosen to receive support were recommended by village chiefs of the predetermined villages, who assessed by location the worst situated homes and selected accordingly.

 The bureau of meteorology has indicated less rain for the coming weeks, and families are returning to their homes to start the cleanup. The flood situation remains critical in five provinces; however rehabilitation efforts have already begun in several cities, namely Ranong, Krabi, Trang, Chumphon, Prachuap, Khiri Khan, Yala and Narathiwat. The inundated areas will have flood waters diverted and stored in catchments to be used in the dry season. Homeowners will be entitled up to 250,000 baht depending on the degree of damage and a home repair program will be run by soldiers and vocational students to get people back on their feet. Additional funds of 3,000 baht will be given to farmer families. The government plans to assess response initiatives and warning systems for future disasters, as well as preventative measures so that they are well prepared for what is not an uncommon occurrence in Thailand.

ECMA Capacity Building Workshop

ECMA Capacity Building Workshop

ADRA Thailand’s ECMA project team and Positive Deviant Consulting Firm conducted a five day workshop to build the capacity of ADRA/ECMA staff  and CSO/CBO sub-grant partners on Organizational Development on 21-25 November 2015.

Mr Antonio Belgrave led out on the two and half day Training of Trainers (TOT) for ECMA staff on 21-23 November and assisted ECMA staff as they led the next 2 days training  for CSO/CBO from 7 organizations  on 23-25 November 2016.

For the 21-23 November 2016, the  TOT Workshop  for ADRA Thailand/ECMA staff focused on strategy developing, problems solving, implementation skills and stakeholder management.   In developing strategy, the trainer led  development of a strategy base which is very useful for organizations to give them a bigger picture of their teams responses. The problem solving techniques introduced the principle of problems solving,  allowing participants to think of what the root causes of  problems are and follow up with the defining their problems statement and desired states.  Other analytical techniques included fish bone, 5 whys, and arrow go most and less, impact and effort matrix and iceberg, which were were introduced and practiced.  The spirits of this session encouraged the participant to think about root causes problems and how to solve them effectively with full engagement of team members. The implementation planning skills were introduced as a second step when the team had a clear understanding of their problem,  its root causes and solutions. The trainers  demonstrated planning skills, set up their respective milestones and had to detail the activities necessary to reach each milestone. The 5 tools of coms cell werepracticed nicely in the sessions.

 

 

Antonio providing feedback for strategic housing.

In the last session with ECMA team, the trainer went through stakeholder management. In this session, the trainer explained the stakeholder analysis matrix to guide the necessity of having a clear analysis of power over interest each stakeholder  has . The project /organization should then design different approaches with each group.

The 2 and half day TOT went smooth  and was rich with information, ECMA and ADRA Thailand staff were inspired to implement tools and skills in the ECMA project and provide coaching to project partners in the implementation.    

 

Partners practicing drawing their strategy house

On 23-25 November, 2016, Organizational Development Capability Building Workshop for 7 CSO/CBO partners

Mr Antonio Belgrave and ECMA staff conducted a 2 days’ workshop for 7 CSO/CBO organizations.  The workshop covered  4 key  topics  which analysed  the OD assessment tools   sent  to the organizations before the workshop. The 4 topics were:  improving organization direction, CSO efficiency (GEMBA), Better problems solving and impact for change leadership.

In the first session, Antonio Belgrave explained the overall purpose of the ECMA capacity building workshop. The introduction began with strategy developing which mainly focused on building strategic housing. Each partner built their own strategy house based on their organization vision, mission, and strategy and measure success. The workshop schedule followed up with problem solving in the second day and implementation skill and stakeholder management on third day of the workshop. Finally the trainer encouraged each participant to write 3 commitments they want to achieve in the next 2 weeks. The postcards were collected by ECMA staff and post to all participants in the following 2 weeks.  The ECMA staff raised their thanks and appreciation to all participants for making the workshop a success and more meaningful, they also committed their additional support to develop personal and organizational skill levels in OD throughout the projects duration and beyond.  The trainer concluded the workshop with high appreciation for full participation of all participants and encouraged all participants to continue to practice all tools and share their skills their team members. Antonio ended the session with  a famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi which says “Be the change you want to see in the world” to encourage the participants to think positive and reflect the changes that they wished to see.

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Repairing Lives

Repairing Lives

La Hea grew up in the Karen state of Myanmar on a small farm. His parents taught him how to grow rice and tend to chilli plants, look after the chickens and fix things when they broke.

He lived there with his three brothers and two sisters.  At first there was calm, but gradually the rebels impact in the area was noticed by the Burmese army, and soon fighting erupted throughout the Karen State, spreading like wildfire. La Hea and his family were some of the lucky ones, able to go about life generally unscathed; however the army came to his door with increasing frequency; both Karen and Burmese demanding he enlist. But La Hea never wanted to be a fighter, he wanted an education and to be with his family. With both armies harassing him, he and his brother decided the best option would be to take refuge in Thailand, with his parents and sister to follow soon after they arrived. The others stayed in Myanmar as rice & chili farmers with their families where they remain. Eventually, his father had enough of Refugee life and returned to Myanmar, to his work as a farmer, where his mother stayed and lived with him.

 It has been eight years since they first arrived in Thailand, and many things have changed for La Hea and his family; life in Myanmar another life away. His sister is still in school and his brother now teaches at a Bible school within the camp. He recently returned to Myanmar to get married, and his wife is still living in Myanmar where she has opened a noodle shop does not wish to leave to come to the refugee camp. He has now moved to Zone B without his mother, who lives in Zone C in order to be close to the farm where she is able to earn a small income. La Hea has found it increasingly frustrating and disheartening at the lack of freedom they have within the camp, needing to bribe the guards with alcohol, food or coffee if he wished to go anywhere outside or occasionally even across Zones.

 La Hea first heard about the ADRAs Vocational Services when he was helping out in another Auto Mechanic Repair shop, and thought it would be an excellent way to increase his skills. He also happened to know one of the auto-mechanic trainers who introduced him to the course and helped him enroll in the training for 2011. Since then he also completed the Basic Electrical and Computer Skills courses. From what he gained during the VT courses, he has been able to open his own motorcycle repair shop and install the electrical wiring run power to the shop and his computer which he uses to study at night. The shop has been open for roughly six months now and is doing good business; however La Hea cannot acquire all parts of the motorbike due to less capitol, making some bikes unable to be fully repaired. He is even able to take on assistants to help him run the shop, which he has recently agreed to take on a disabled trainee alongside his current assistant.

 La Hea feels more well known now and has made many friends since opening the shop. They know he has a good business and even nearby villages know of him and sometimes get their bikes fixed at his shop. His wish for the future is for Myanmar to find peace, and should this happen in his lifetime to return and open a vocational training school. He sees the children that come to watch him work having no skills and wants to help create the opportunity to acquire them; giving them a fresh start and a pathway to a better life. La Hea truly feels that giving to the future generations would be the best way to break the cycle refugees find themselves stuck in.

Service That Counts

Service That Counts

Eh Paw grew up on a small farm in the Karen State of Myanmar. Her husband managed a animal husbandry business whilst she took care of the house and their son; it was hard but fair work.

Trouble soon found them through Burmese soldiers looking for her husbands brother; who had joined the rebel KNU group and the soldiers were demanding information on his whereabouts. Fortunately, they were convinced to leave; however this would not be the last time they would come. The next time they would try and take her husband for allegations of consorting with KNU rebels. Fearing for their lives, they crossed over into Thailand as refugees and now reside in Mae La camp. This was in 2006, and for 10 years they have been living in the camp. The young child they brought with them is now an adult, and another child of 8 years has been born into refugee life without ever having known anything different. Eh Paw lives with her husband, two children and mother-in law and says that the best thing about camp life is “that our family can live together and don’t need to be afraid of the Burmese”.

Eh Paw demonstrates how to make a bed to industry standard.

Photograph by Brittanie McLean

Jobs are limited in the camp, and work can only be done within the camp or illegally in the surrounding fields, which is not an ideal situation due to the possibility of being caught and sent straight back to the war torn territories they were so desperate to escape. Eh Paw was “glad and happy” when she first heard about the VT Project that would provide vocational training services to the camp, and Eh Paw jumped at the chance, getting involved with knitting training in 2007; also acquiring a sewing course as well. Eventually she became a knitting trainer (instructor) for the ZOA project and was kept on when ADRA was handed over the reigns to continue ZOA’s good work. In 2013 she decided to increase her skill level and do Hotel Service vocational training, which lead to her eligibility for an internship in Mae Sot.

Eh Paw has recently been part of ADRA’s internship program, completing her internship at a relatively new hotel attracting people from across the globe. Here she was able to put theory into practice through preparing bedding, cleaning, setting tables etc. The one month placement really helped her increase her skill level and gain a better understanding of Hotel Management; she finds the language barrier the hardest component, but she is willing to put in the hard work to bridge the gap and finds everything else enjoyable, especially preparing the bedding. After the internship she hopes to become a Hotel Service trainer and implement the knowledge she has learned in her teaching, but for now she runs a sewing & knitting business from her house still utilising previous courses to support her family.

Eh Paw

Photograph by Rodolfo Mansalve

Eh Paw hopes that in the future she can build a house where it is safe and stable where her whole family can live together and open a shop to support them. If there is true peace in the future she would like to go back to Myanmar and see ADRA opening VT facilities that can benefit the community on the other side of the border as well. She is very grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn, and make a better future where she can leave the camp and live happily once again.

The Border Crisis

The Border Crisis

On September 12th 2016 armed conflict broke out in Karen State of Myanmar between a split group of DKBA and the Myanmar Government Army.

The initial affected area in Hlaingbwe Township, Hpa An District but has since spread over a larger area between Hliangbwe and Phapun townships. This has come when many villages are also experiencing food shortages, and farmers are unable to work in the fields due to the fighting and landmines placed by the DKBA split group.
This follows after decades of violence between the Karen National Union (KNU) and Burmese Army that has caused tens of thousands of Karen and Burmese people to flee to refugee camps in Thailand.

Karen villagers at the distribution point.

Photograph by Sarawut Tummati

Fighting has been significantly increasing in recent weeks and this has caused a displacement crisis. An estimated 3,800 individuals have now been displaced, forced to reside in the jungle along the Thai-Myanmar border. Initially these people were able to slip into the refugee camps in Thailand, though as numbers kept increasing the Thai Military closed the border and now they must make do in Myanmar. However, as the situation becomes more desperate, refugees may resort to drastic measures to survive which puts themselves and others at risk.
ADRA enacted emergency protocol alongside other NGOs coordinating through the Karen Refugee Committee (KRC), gathering funds from the ADRA Asia Regional Office, ADRA International and the Thailand Adventist Mission (TAM). We are working with NGOs and local authorities to supply aid. After an assessment of the situation, ADRA Thailand agreed to supply 120 bags of rice, tarps and mosquito nets, which helped approximately 748 individuals. The team travelled from Mae Sot on the 26th September to the distribution site, and hired boats to get the goods across the river as this was the only way to reach the affected areas; each boat could only carry 40 bags of rice so 3 boats were used. On the 27th they handed out the supplies to 120 families

Karen Refugees wait to be given supplies.

Photograph by Sarawut Tummati

ADRA distributes tarps, pots, rice and mosquito nets to the displaced families.

Photograph by Sarawut Tummati

After consideration ADRA Thailand agreed to supply 120 bags of rice, tarps and mosquito nets, which helped approximately 748 individuals. The team travelled from Mae Sot on the 26th September to the distribution site, and hired boats to get the goods across the river as this was the only way to reach the affected areas; each boat could only carry 40 bags of rice so 3 boats were used. On the 27th they handed out all of the supplies in 2 location, and ADRA is now evaluating if there is even more that can be accomplished with any extra funding provided.

Hopefully this will get some families through a few hard months before they decide what their next move is going to be. A big ThankYou to the distribution team at ground level and programs team for getting the relief effort moving so quickly, and to the Donors for their support.

Electrical Interns

Electrical Interns

In a recent interview we caught up with some Interns at an Electrical store in Mae Sot. Here they have been learning to fix equipment and the basics of customer service.

The shop is currently offering three refugees a placement in their storefront. These men were forced to leave their homes from varying degrees of violence and hostility in their respective states or followed their families as they were children at the time of departure, and live in one of the refugee camps on the Thai-Myanmar border. One of the men has been in the camp since 2000, some 16 years that has been filled with a longing to return to some semblance of normalcy. Unfortunately he was gone when the UN came to issue Thai documentation and so was left behind as those sought work elsewhere with their new IDs and a chance at freedom. When asked what the hardest part of living in a refugee camp was they mentioned the lack of jobs, doing any kind of business and just going about day to day activities. However they do appreciate the free health facilities, training and education, which would be difficult to access without a fair amount of funds in Myanmar.

Interns examine a broken fridge.

Photograph by Brittanie McLean

The interns have been involved in in the Vocational Training project since ZOA, 2013 and 2016 respectively; and between them they have completed Motorcycle Repair, Hotel Management, Construction, Computer Skills, Cutting and Electrical Repair courses. Electrical Repair seems to be the favourite, however they enjoyed learning new skills in every course. They would like to see ADRA offer more advanced skill VT courses that build upon the current trainings, as this would expand opportunities even further; and extend the time in order to create more practice sessions to cement the knowledge and skills.

The team are thoroughly enjoying their time at shop, finding nothing they dislike and every task approached with positive attitudes. The job involves repairing washing machines, fridges and other small electrical appliances; anything that is too difficult they observe. There are so many electrical devices it would be nearly impossible to learn everything in one month (the length of the internship), and so one of the interns has chosen to focus on one or two items to get well accustomed to repairing them. After the internship they plan to study more and figure out ways to deal with the supply and demand of parts; which is difficult to acquire in the camps. Future goals include opening electrical businesses and finding permanent places to call home outside of camp. We hope these goals can be accomplished with the help of ADRAs training programs.

Interns from Mae La Refugee Camp.

Photograph by Brittanie McLean