Meeting needs for youth in Indonesia – My day with YUM

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On July 17, I was able to visit the first, and still the only, library provided by Yayasan Usaha Mulia, or YUM, in the community of Cipanas, Indonesia. The families there consist of farmers, labor workers, and vegetable sellers at the markets.

When not in school, local youth have the opportunity to get tutored and participate in activities at the library like educational games, creative arts & crafts, and movies – when I arrived the children were making school schedules to take home. These included coloring, drawing, and cutting out shapes to make it their own while learning the days of the week.  These youth were ages 6-12. The older kids were working on the computers, and the younger ones were drawing pictures. It was fun to see how each group of younger children had a general theme they decided to draw – one group drawing a home and another drawing elephants and fish. The library was colorful, encouraging creativity, safety, with the walls filled with books, dictionaries, novels, and more. I also saw the “boxes of books” which is part of the mobile library program for other communities’ schools. YUM’s goal is to add more schools to its current 2 where it provides books. These are the first “libraries” in these communities.

I asked the librarian what he did before working at this one, and he said he was a teacher at the government schools. He said the schools lacked expression and creativity for the children, so when he was introduced to the opportunity at YUM, he was happy to join.

After, I went on to see the vocational training program, the organic gardens, and meet the community. I met YUM’s bookkeeper. When he was in 4th grade he was orphaned, so he was brought to YUM’s center. He stayed in YUM’s program and now works for the organization. I asked him to describe YUM and he said, “a place where you are happy.” The first program I saw that day was the sewing class. This program teaches young adults to make clothes, bags, and using recycled scraps for creative products. I sat down with one of the students, a young man who hoped to one day become a tailor and design his own clothes.  I then spoke with another young woman named Aji who was 16 and in her 3rd year of senior high school. I asked her why she took sewing class, and she said because she could make more friends and she wanted to be a professional designer. All of the youth explained to me when they are not in school they are usually helping the family or working. The classes had not only young women, but also a few young men working just as hard to develop skills for a career after.

Next, I sat in on the computer-training course. The 2 trainers were former students of the class themselves. The girl trainer explained to me she wanted to go to school, but after elementary her parents could not pay. YUM helped pay for her costs and now she loves math, hopes to share her knowledge, and to attend university to be a chemical engineer. She was an extremely bright and mature young woman still in high school. Aris, from YUM, explained to me 75% of youth going through the vocational training program receive jobs. If they don’t get a job, local youth marry young or become a domestic or labor workers.

Finally, the staff took me to visit the local community as well as explore the organic gardens planted by local schools and students. See the pictures in the slide show – it was such an incredible and inspiring experience to not only meet the children of Cipanas, but also to get to know the staff behind the impact-organization, YUM.

Advertisements

FED/GHRE Filling the Gap for Burmese Migrants’ Rights in Thailand

On June 18 I visited Foundation for Education and Development/Grassroots Human Rights Education and Development in southern Thailand – a place called Khao Lak.

Burmese migrants’ children ready to learn thanks to Grassroots Human Rights Education And Development

The first project I witnessed was the community leader training. Burmese migrants from fisheries, plantations, and construction who came to Thailand to find work had gathered for a 2-day training. These attendees were receiving training for improving and leading community development. All were from the Phang Nga province and were there to also network with each other.  The founder said that part of the training’s purpose it to increase the awareness of the migrants’ human and labor rights. Many workers come to Thailand not knowing their rights, which then are abused by those in authority like the plantation  owners, construction company owners, and immigration authorities.

The temporary shelter and women’s center – additional services provided to Burmese migrants by FED/GHRE

The second project I visited was the education program for the Burmese migrants’ children – FED/GHRE wants to protect children’s rights by encouraging that they don’t have to work or marry young… they can stay in school. Awareness is not just for children but for the parents as well.  I sat in on activities from preschool age to the young adult, youth outreach program.  The older children receive traditional schooling in addition to democracy and human rights training.

Preschool Class

In Thailand the problem is that to integrate migrant students into public schools, money and language-fluency in Thai is required, which many children of Burmese migrants don’t have. Additionally, transportation to these schools is not easy therefore students are provided transportation via the FED/GHRE truck from certain areas to the FED/GHRE school.

One FED/GHRE staff member I met had joined this organization at age 12 and continued through the program. She is now 19 and a translator for the organization. She said without FED/GHRE she probably would probably not have any opportunity and have to marry young or work in a plantation like many of her peers. I was able to also speak with a FED/GHRE recipient who has been integrated to a Thai school. He said he has both Thai and Burmese friends there and enjoys playing football as well as art class because he loves to draw mountains and landscapes.

Before I left, I was able to stop in one last time and observe a school celebration of Aung Suu Kyi’s birthday. The students were quizzed on historical events, the life of Aung Suu Kyi, and then watched a short documentary. Although there have been public changes within (Burma)Myanmar, change has not been seen in this area with an increase in new students arriving everyday.  This group of multilingual Burmese youth in Thailand will grow up not only with math and language skills, but a with a global mindset trained in democracy and human rights.

Aung Suu Kyi’s Birthday Celebration

Jacqueline
GlobalGiving InTheField Representative | Texas

Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.

For more information about GlobalGiving, click here. 

Providing education for marginalized migrant youth in Thailand

DEPDC students

DEPDC students headed to class

GlobalGiving and donors have helped DEPDC fund many projects like a clean water source for the center and the education building that provides a free school in the day and a community-learning center in the evenings. Additionally, funds have helped provide education grants to send migrant children to school, provided a computer classroom, is currently fundraising to send 200 at risk children to school, and offering community learning center classes including English and business training. DEPDC supports the community in Mae Sai near the Thai-Burma border including Burmese children living in the border area and hill-tribe communities nearby.

Once within the facilities – I was greeted with children playing and bright colored buildings. At the front of the main building, immediately I saw a big sign over a door thanking GlobalGiving for the computer lab. I was then guided  on a tour of the DEPDC education building.

First I saw Child Voice Radio – a DJ training facility where students can learn how to DJ a radio station and speak on issues.  Then we went over to the broadcasting area – complete with stage, couches, and lighting as if ready for a talk show. Here DEPDC creates YouTube videos and provides opportunities for students to create alongside as well. Among these vocational training opportunities students can learn agriculture, weaving, and even intern through a youth leadership program. This is part of the Half Day Program where students receive formal education for half the day and vocational training of their choice the other half.

During my tour, I witnessed students in class, learning everything from math to teamwork and trust.  One of the classes for the older students occurred only on Fridays and focused on peace, self-confidence, and Thai culture. DEPDC provides a completely free education as opposed to the local Thai schools that are “free” but require students to pay for uniforms and books, which many families cannot afford. DEPDC also offers the opportunity for students who start kindergarten at 12 years old (because they could not attend before for many various reason) to learn at their level, comfort, and ability.  In addition to supporting youth in the day, these facilities host evening, community courses open to all community members.

DEPDC students in class

DEPDC students in class
Teamwork and Trust Activity

Teamwork and Trust Activity
GlobalGiving everywhere!

What is the impact? A majority of DEPDC students have no documentation or identification, are migrants that face poverty and discrimination, are unprotected and targeted by traffickers, and unaware of trafficking dangers. Now over 4000 children have been helped by DEPDC and provided an educational opportunity, vocational training, and self-empowerment to make informed decisions when facing dangers of poverty and trafficking.

Jacqueline
GlobalGiving InTheField Representative | Texas

Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.

For more information about GlobalGiving, click here.