On the Thai-Burma border, H4TW partners with the Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW) to train local people as healthcare workers (called ‘medics’) to staff the 50 medical clinics which provide healthcare to the Karen people in the mountains of Karen State of Burma.
This medic training programme takes bright and dedicated Karen nationals, most with only one or two years of secondary education and a basic knowledge of community health, and puts them through a 26-week training programme designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills to act as the competent providers of healthcare to their remote communities. This is followed by 26 weeks of training in public health and 13 weeks of practical training in a hospital and clinic environment to consolidate their skills.
Between 2006 and 2010 we were able to raise funds to build 5 schools and renovate 5 others in very poor condition. These schools are located in the Karen and Shan states and, with the exception of one which was destroyed in a military offensive, are all still operational today. In 2012/13 we went to a Shan village of internally displaced who were slowly building a middle school from local resources. We were able to give a significant grant to complete it in 18 months rather than 5 years. In 2014 HOPE received a large donation to enable us to build a preschool in a neighbouring village and have just launched a project to build a substantial ‘high school’ in a very needy community. We are very careful to revisit to advise, monitor progress and encourage.
The educational needs are also vast so in 2006 we launched teacher training programmes on the Thai Burma border to deliver training to teachers in remote areas who have had little, if any, training themselves. Historically and culturally, the 'chalk and talk' method of teaching has been used, ever since the days when Burma was a British colony, and so there is much training needed to develop critical thinking and the skills that the younger generation will need as Myanmar (formerly Burma) makes progress towards a fully democratic society.
In 2010 we introduced training teachers in the central area of Shan State, again working with Ethnic and displaced communities. In addition to working with teachers, we usually spend significant time with promising young people who need to improve their English language skills in order to gain the education that will enable them to lead their communities and make a significant contribution to the emerging democracy we hope will come to fruition.