Sunday, July 17, 2011

Heading off for Mae Sot to volunteer

Although I've moved to Shanghai where I was offered a job teaching English as a foreign language with a major university, I do keep in touch with several refugees in the USA using skype, the telephone, e-mail and facebook. But I confess I've been feeling a bit guilty the last year as there is so much more to be done and so much more to be learned and understood.

So I've decided to volunteer as an English teacher for a few short weeks at Mae Sot refugee camp in Thailand.

I am scheduled to leave on Tuesday and am focusing on things like washing my best socks. (I have trouble buying good socks here in Shanghai and therefore do not have as many good socks as I want. Most are too thin and small to be comfortable.)

I've been feeling stress and have been watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer a lot. (One of the ways I deal with waiting induced stress.)

Anyways, here's a few links I found to let people know what I will be doing and where I am going and even some of the people I will meet.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14033175
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http://genascihk.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/fighting-for-education-on-the-thai-burmese-border/

http://myanmarrefugees.blogspot.com/2010/01/naw-paw-ray-prize-winning-burmese.html

Again, just to summarize, I began writing about refugee issues on this blog when it became obvious that many refugee workers did not really know how to do their jobs. It became angrier as I became convinced that some agencies, notably USCRI (the Non-governmental organization known as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants) do not terribly care if their workers at the local level know or are able to do their jobs. I wish it weren't so. Meanwhile if people wish to help there's lots to do not just to help out refugees but also to try and bring light to the agencies that are receiving federal funding to assist refugees and then not doing their jobs well.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Peter,

    I have visited Mae Sot and Mae La refugee camp and am looking at going back. Just curious who you are volunteering with?

    Thanks,

    Stephen

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  2. First, I am not there currently. I am now back in Shanghai. During the summer, I spent time with the Burmese Migrant Workers Educational Network. Normally they only use volunteers who commit to a semester or more, but because I was known to family members of the management they let me come for less time.

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