Literacy elevates human dignity and is the hallmark of civilization. It develops personal expression, critical thinking, problem solving skills and increases civic participation and economic productivity. There are nearly 1 billion adults who are illiterate.
The downward cycle of poverty and the victimization of the world’s most vulnerable women and children create desperate conditions with little or no hope to improve the lives of entire communities.
In northern Thailand among the hill tribes, human traffickers exploit illiterate women and children. This lucrative business takes advantage of poor people in desperate circumstances. Parents are persuaded to sell their children and others are lured away with false promises of employment. In one of the world’s most immoral human enterprises, women and children are sold into virtual slavery as domestics, bonded labourers, child soldiers and sex trade workers.
Hilltribe culture in Thailand is less discriminatory towards women, than in some other countries, but domestic violence is high among the unemployed and uneducated.
Virulent infection rates occur when poverty drives migrant workers away from their families, only to infect them when they return. Literacy is required to understand the fundamentals of health messaging.
In short, we are asking for your help to provide funding to support the education of 80 students in our FreeSchools project, all of whom are not only from very poor families, but also without Thai citizenship - they are stateless in fact.
This means they have minimal rights, and minimal support from government, because they are not Thai citizens - they are without citizenship entirely, and even though many have been born in Thailand, there is a long process to gain their citizenship, and more equal rights (this is also dependent on whether they are eligible to apply, which is not always the case).
In 2008, The Mirror Foundation was contacted by FreeSchools Literacy Project, which was already established in India. The foundation agreed with the principles of the project, and saw the opportunity for children in the remote areas in northern Thailand, to receive an education otherwise unavailable to them. The foundation believes strongly that illiteracy deprives children of many opportunities, and creates a cycle of poverty. Additionally, children can be taken advantage of, oppressed, and more susceptible to human rights violations.
Currently, the FreeSchools project has a total of 7 learning centres supported by its teachers. The ratio is 1 teacher per location, totaling approximately 1000 children, from different hill-tribe groups such as Akha, Lahu, Thai Yai, and Daraung.
Most children are from poor backgrounds, and their family cannot own land. Some families live on their employer’s farm, and many do not have any rights concerning personal status and so suffer from labour exploitation. Wages are low considering the hours and type of work. Accordingly, living conditions are poor, and children are often going hungry.
Some children often skip classes because they have to work on the farms, to help and support their family. Most families realise how important education is, but due to impoverished circumstances, they cannot afford to pay for their children's education.
These issues have lead us, The Mirror Foundation, to ask people in mainstream society to donate study grants to children in our FreeSchools project.
The framework and concept of the project focuses on using local resources including buildings and teachers, with teaching schedules and curriculum designed to be appropriate for the individual communities. Prior to opening an educational centre, the process includes surveying, researching and selecting a remote community that is difficult for the children to get access to education. The project also coordinates communities and local government departments, selects and hires teachers local to the area, and promotes resource donations - such as teaching materials. This encourages mainstream society to become aware, and be part, of this support for children through fund-raising activities. To ensure each learning centre delivers education at its full potential, the project provides advice, has regular meetings, and continuously supports teachers and communities.
Using the dropdown menu, you are able to donate for 1 term, 1 year, or up to 6 years, in a single payment.
Please note the Paypal donation links include an extra 7%, to cover the 4.4% + $0.30 charge made by Paypal for this transaction, as well as currency exchange fees.
The Mirror Foundation guarantees all donations made for this specific project will only be used for this project. No funds will be diverted for other work or use.
Donating 1,000 Thai Baht can fulfill the dream of these children - to gain an education. A donation will give each child the opportunity for a better life.
You can also donate by bank transfer:
We take into consideration the student’s level of poverty and his/her determination to learn, regardless of their current education level.
Observe the behaviour of the students and the environment of the family in encouraging and supporting students and realise the importance of the education. There will be coordination between local teachers, family and the students who receive the grant.