Sunday, 24 February 2013

Mea Tao Clinic and the Children's Development Center

Gentle Reader,

As you doubtless know by now the Mae Tao Clinic is one of my very favorite humanitarian organizations.  It’s much more than a health clinic.  It is also an umbrella organization for Child Protection projects including their own school, the Children’s  Development Center (CDC).

A friend of mine offered to collect medicines to donate to Mae Tao clinic.  I delivered the first small batch on Monday the 18th.  It was very well received and immediately taken to the pharmacy for distribution to patients.  The next day I had the opportunity to meet briefly with Dr. Cynthia Muang and learned that medicine is slow to arrive because of the procurement process.  Funding for most of the medicine comes from the British organization U.K. Aid.  Their generosity is greatly appreciated; many lives depend on it.  Still, the clinic is almost always short of critical medicines, instruments and supplies.   My intention is to do more to help procure these critical items.
Dr. Cynthia, a very busy lady.

The clinic needs surgical instruments, dental and medical.  They need supplies such as sutures and bandages.  The clinic also needs more HIV testing kits.  Currently they cannot honor all of the requests for HIV testing.  Hopefully I will soon have a more exact list of their specific needs.  More on this soon, as soon as I have it.
On the 19th of February I also had the opportunity to visit the Children’s Development Center where I met with Mahn Shwe Hnin, the President / Principle of the school and Myo Nyunt, a teacher and the man in charge of their scholarship program.   This center has been supported by the Mae Tao Clinic for 24 years.  The 19th of February was actually their 24th anniversary.
Myo Nyunt and Mahn Shwe Hnin

The school currently has 845 students in 28 classes ranging from kindergarten to grade 12.  The student population is actually down from 962 a year ago. Some students have gone back to Burma, others have moved with their parents to different locations. Classes are divided into grades 1 through 6, 7 through 9 and 10 through 12.  They currently have two English teachers.

The CDC has a special GED program that prepares students for admission to colleges.  Last year there were 15 students in the program.  This year there are 13.  They try to give preference to orphans and children who have been abandoned by their parents (Sometimes the parents go back to Burma and are never heard from again.  Remember that the Burmese Army has slaughtered thousands of ethnic minorities including the Karen who are predominant in the Mae Sot area).
Yes, they are boys acting like boys

The Children’s Development Center is classified as a learning center, not a school, by the Thai government.  This means that they do not have the accreditation needed for their students to apply to colleges and universities in Thailand or Burma.  They hope to soon be accredited by the ASEAN One Community Program. CDC is not the only learning center with accreditation issues.  In Tak province, there are 81 migrant learning centers, including AGAPE which I have written about, supporting some 15,000 students. Providing education to the displaced children in the Mae Sot area is no small task.
Girls in the same class as the boys, what a difference! 

My highest compliments to the dedicated staff and volunteers who work to give these children a fighting chance in the future! 

Abundant Blessings, 

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