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Raising Burmese
chool is important to Toe Toe's mother. So Rose keeps the 9-year-old’s hair cut and helps with homework. At the first sign of fever, Rose’s hand is the one reaching for Toe Toe's forehead.

Yet, Rose is not Toe Toe’s mother.

Rose is a teacher at one of the few schools for Burmese children in Thailand. Two years ago, she and her husband welcomed Toe Toe and her brother into their one-room home. The biological parents – old acquaintances from Myanmar – live 1.5 hours away on a rubber plantation with little time to meet the children’s simple needs such as supervision. There is also no school nearby.

Through two couples’ sacrifice, two Burmese children now face a brighter future in a foreign land.


Timeline Myanmar-Thailand Relations
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Fast Facts From Myanmar to Thailand
  • An estimated 2.2 million migrants from Myanmar live in Thailand today, with 123,000 recognized refugees living in nine camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. Many of those outside the camps are economic migrants, both registered and unregistered.

  • Immigrants from Myanmar are a mixture of ethnicities, with Burmese as the primary people group. Myanmar is also composed of numerous ethnic tribes such as the Karen, Shan, Hmong and Akha who often face persecution.

  • In 2004, 93,000 foreign children under the age of 12 were registered with Thailand’s Ministry of the Interior. Approximately 63,000 of those are from Myanmar, with actual numbers likely much higher.

  • In 2004, 13,637 students from Myanmar and other surrounding countries attended Thai primary and secondary schools.

  • Obstacles to attending Thai schools include cultural and linguistic difficulties, costs for uniforms and transportation, fear of authorities and a lack of understanding about an immigrant’s right to attend school.

  • The Foundation for Education, which operates the Bang Niang Learning Center, estimates there are 1,000 school-age refugees from Myanmar in Phang-nga province.

  • 400 students attend the five learning centers and two nurseries operated by the Foundation for Education. The foundation plans to open four more centers to serve an additional 225 students.

  • The foundation’s mobile teaching program serves 175 students. It also runs an integration program to help students from Myanmar go to Thai school. In 2008, 50 students began the program, but only 25 finished the year because of cultural and linguistic difficulties.
Map Immigrants from Myanmar Displayed below is the approximate population of Thailand’s registered workers. The dispersion of legal migrants is accurate, but the actual number of migrant workers in Thailand is far greater than the map reflects.

Thailand has developed a registration program for its large migrant worker population. Yet for many workers, the financial cost of registration – including fees and medical exams – outweighs the benefit. The result is that only one-quarter to one-third of workers from Myanmar are registered. Source: International Organization for Migration

Grassroots Human Rights Education and Development Operates the Foundation for Education

Story about educational organizations set up to help Burmese Youth after the Tsunami

Migrant Assistance Program

International Organization on Migration


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