Refugee School

I didn't expect to find refugees in Thailand, but I wasn't surprised. Thailand currently has around 10,000 refugees, which isn't very many compared to the sorroundong countries which might have as many as 10x the number of refugees. Many of these refugees are Pakistani Christians that fled religious persecution. Patrick, a Pakistan refugee that we met, explained that each person's religion is displayed on their ID card which makes it easy to identify Christians. He told us about a Christian family that was killed due to blasphemy against Islam. Thailand doesn't allow refugees, so many come in on a tourist visa (1 month) and stay longer. As a consequence of staying illegally, they face fines and imprisonment.  They come to Thailand, because the UN (united nations) has a presence there which means they are more likely to be resettled into a third country.  Many families come expecting to leave in less than 1 year, but now most refugees end up staying for 6-8 years. They can't get jobs to make a living, so they depend on the church and saved funds. They can't get jobs to make a living, so they depend on the church and save funds. Since many families expect to leave sooner they don't put their children into schools. Thus, the children do not get any education in the 6 -8 years that they may stay there. This is where Adam comes in. He started a school for the refugee children to go to. Adam is also refugee but from Ethiopia. He was working on disability rights in Ethiopia when he realized that the money from the UN and other countries was not being used for its intended purposes. He let people know and was promptly arrested. They tortured him (he now caries scars on his ankles) before a friend bailed him out. He then fled the country and came to Thailand. Starting with a very small donation of school supplies, Adam started to teach the children around him. He recognized the need for more school supplies, so he went from church to church and organization to organization asking for help. In the school the children learn how to speak English and other life skills, as well as class materials so that they will be more ready for whatever country they are placed in. The kids are required to wear school uniforms so that they look like the Thai children and are less at risk of being caught. The school now has over 30 students and several teachers. 20160124_160142 Adam is like the principal, and Patrick is a school administrator. Both of these gentlemen are very ingenuitive and any country would be lucky to receive them. I respect them greatly for their work that they are doing especially in their circumstances. While the United States doesn't necessarily torture or punish the refugees it is still difficult for them. Back in Grand Rapids I have done a lot of volunteering at Bethany Christian services in their refugee program. I have worked in the after school tutoring program in which I get to connect with kids from Central and South America as well as some countries in Africa and the Middle East. Many of the refugees have no prior English language and don't know the American culture. Please pray for the refugees in Thailand as well as all the refugees around the world. Pray for peace in their homeland so that they might be able to return. Also pray for adjustment to the new countries they may be settled in. Pray for the countries and organizations that are willing to accept the refugees.

1 thought on “Refugee School”

Leave a Reply