In School In Society: Early Childhood In Myanmar Migrant Communities in Thailand (VSO Report) Over the last twenty years, there has been an influx of migration into Thailand from neighbouring Myanmar, often to take up so-called ‘3D’ jobs (dirty, dangerous and difficult). These working conditions have a direct impact on the development of young children as they live in precarious environments, with migrant children representing one of the most disadvantaged groups in Thailand when it comes to early childhood. VSO Thailand/Myanmar’s research in migrant communities shows how education, both through Thai state schools and migrant learning centres, remains the key to integration within society, and to accessing other vital services ranging from nutrition and healthcare to Thai language and necessary life skills. Published in The Guardian.

  • Uncertain Arrival

    Many cross the border trading on the migrant’s hope - risking present uncertainty for the chance of a better future. Bang Khun Thian, Bangkok, Thailand. 23/08/2012 © 2012 KT WATSON

  • Welcome

    Myanmar migrant communities in Thailand can be chaotic and impoverished but also welcoming, contributing to Thai society and providing hope for a better life. The border town of Ranong, where fishing is the primary source of income for migrant workers. The red banner is an advert for a Thai mobile phone network provider, written in Burmese to target new customers. Muang, Ranong, Thailand. 30/08/2012 © 2012 KT WATSON

  • Isolation

    The scope of available work forces some migrants to remote locations where support is hard to come by. One of only four families in an isolated community deep in the jungle, this mother has lived on the plantation for only a few months. Her 3 year old daughter is sick, and needs one last vaccination. She is too afraid to take her daughter to the hospital due to their illegal status and lack of knowledge on local health services. Khuk Khak, Phang Nga, Thailand. 28/08/2012 © 2012 KT WATSON

  • In Society

    A small orphanage in Phang Nga, Thailand. © 2012 KT WATSON

  • Vaccination

    The foremost hopes of migrant parents are not unusual - better chances at life for their children. An infant  receiving a vaccination at the Mae Tao Clinic, which was set-up and run by migrants to provide accessible health care. Mae Sot, Tak, Thailand. 05/09/2012 © 2012 KT WATSON

  • Fresh Start

    Children are taught life skills to support themselves and their families in their daily lives. At this Thai foundation, children are prepared for integration into Thai state schools and taught basic life skills. Bang Bon, Bangkok, Thailand. 24/08/2012 © 2012 KT WATSON

  • The Wai

    Even from the youngest age, children adopt new cultural norms. A migrant child in a Thai State Nursery School. The "wai" - a formal greeting - is one of the first Thai customs learnt. Muang, Ranong,Thailand. 30/08/2012 © 2012 KT WATSON

  • Hardships

    While migrant parents strive for their children’s education, the demands of the family’s survival are paramount. Outside her migrant learning centre, this child helps her mother to support the family by collecting and selling plastic bottles. Muang, Ranong, Thailand. 30/08/2012 © 2012 KT WATSON

  • Responsibilities

    The need for children to undertake roles of responsibility in the family can sometimes threaten their future education. Migrant construction workers  live with their families in temporary accommodation on site. This boy is enrolled at the local migrant learning centre in Phang Nga, but he often has to stay at home on the construction site to care for his 3 year old sister while their parents are at work. Bang Niang, Phang Nga, Thailand. 29/08/2012 © KT WATSON

  • In School

    For those who have not yet reached Thai schools, hope remains for their education in migrant learning centres. Two girls studying at a migrant learning centre. Muang, Ranong, Thailand. 30/08/2012 © 2012 KT WATSON

  • Community

    For those who are not  in school, the community is their foundation. A boy is cared for by his grandfather while his parents are out at work. Mae Sot, Tak, Thailand. 05/09/2012

  • Towards the Future

    Kids playing on the remote plantation where they live. Phang Nga, Thailand.

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