In June, Planeterra’s project — The Mulberry Learning Centre — opened its doors to students. Funded generously by Planeterra’s corporate sponsor, Mulberry PR and Marketing Communications, this initiative will be the learning grounds for Burmese migrant children in Kuraburi, Thailand. Due to the political instability of Myanmar (formally Burma), migrants have sought refuge in Thailand, but not without adversity. Children of Burmese migrants are considered “stateless” and have limited access to education and resources, and endure continuous discrimination and threats of deportation. Two staff members of Mulberry PR and Marketing Communications visited the site, sharing their story with Planeterra:
“During our trip to Kuraburi, we visited the old school premises near the settlement of the Burmese migrant community. We learnt that the school, previously known as the Kuraburi Migrant Learning Centre, was built on a plot of land whose rent fluctuated, and was susceptible to flooding, causing instability for the teachers and children. Seeing rotten wooden desks and rusty swings in the compound, we could hardly believe that the children studied there not too long ago.
After visiting the old school, we made our way to the Mulberry Learning Centre, which to our relief, was a drastic difference from the previous school compound. There were six classrooms equipped with ceiling fans and sturdy desks for the students, as well as a nursery filled with toys for children from two to five years old. There were Burmese, Thai and English lessons taught by both local and Canadian volunteers, as well as lessons in Mathematics and Basic Humanities. Moreover, the total floor area of the learning centre was substantially bigger and provided ample space for the children to roam, play and learn comfortably.
As we walked past the classrooms, curious little faces peeked from the windows, and even though they did not know who we were, they grinned and waved at us anyway. The children’s friendliness was heightened after we stepped into the classroom and gave them drawing paper and coloured markers to draw the school of their dreams. They very eagerly introduced their names in English and unreservedly jumped in front of the camera, wrapping their arms around us. It was also heartening to see that the children’s drawings of their dream school very much resembled the Mulberry Learning Centre.”
Planeterra wants to continue making the Mulberry Learning Centre a dream school for these students. Mulberry, along with Planeterra’s support, will continue to fund this program by poviding an annual meal program and by ensuring teachers are well supported. Basic education is the foundation to poverty alleviation, and Planeterra is making a real difference in this community by helping to provide access to education for those most marginalized. You can help reach these students too, by investing in their future through education. Make a contribution to Planeterra to help support this program and be a part of their future.
Daniela Kirchhubel and Evelyn Hon are both employees of Mulberry PR and Marketing Communications, who were able to travel and visit the Mulberry Learning Centre in June.