fighting-malnutrition-encouraging-dreams-among-climate-refugees

Fighting Malnutrition & Encouraging Dreams among Climate Refugees

ONE (SINGAPORE) is teaming up with the Room to Grow Foundation for the second time to provide nutritional support to orphans and other ‘unparented’ migrant children along the Thai-Burmese border.

More than 180 students at the Shwe The Zin school near Mae Sot, Thailand will receive multivitamins three times a week for the duration of the school year, from 1 November 2011 to 31 March 2012. Twenty-five students who are boarding at the facility will also enjoy better meals with beans, eggs, vegetables and other forms of protein.

“Room to Grow does an excellent job fighting malnutrition and working with children from a marginalised community,” says ONE (SINGAPORE) co-founder Michael Switow. “The children and their families have fled violence, conflicts and ‘natural’ disasters in Burma. Their home region is actually a frontline victim of climate change.”

Most of the students at the Shwe The Zin school come from families that fled Burma after Cyclone Nargis ripped through the Irawaddy Delta in 2008, leaving untold numbers of people homeless. They now live in villages in Thailand that do not offer educational opportunities for Burmese children.

Shwe The Zin is one of 60+ informal migrant schools in the Mae Sot community. Approximately 85 per cent of the school’s students live in surrounding plantation zones where their parents work as day laborers; other students live in factories where their parents are employed.

She The Zin has largely functioned without regular support from donors. The headmaster, a monk who was active during Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution, raises money to feed children boarding at the school by telling fortunes, doing astrological readings and selling herbal medicines. But these efforts are unfortunately not sufficient to provide the children with well-balanced meals. The Room to Grow Foundation — a charity that provides food and other necessities to children so “they can go to school with a full belly” — has been working with She The Zin since June 2011. R2G works to ensure that children can “go to sleep safely with a mind full of dreams they will one day be able to realize”.

“It has been inspiring to see the headmaster working hard to generate income for his school in order to pay for rent, utilities, school stationary and transport for children living far from school,” says R2G project coordinator Jennifer Jones. “It has also been difficult to see needs remain unmet. That’s why we’re excited to be partnering with ONE(SINGAPORE) to ensure that the children living at the school receive regular meals and good nutrition.”

ONE (SINGAPORE)’s support for this programme was made possible by a donation from The Superseed Trust.

Additional Resources

  • Photos (Facebook | Flickr)
  • An update on ONE (SINGAPORE)’s first donation to Room to Grow
  • About Room to Grow
  • Radio broadcast about Room to Grow
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