May 2020: student outreach
Updated: May 25
Great news with 70 returning students, 5 new students, and 5 students participating In the Continued Education Program
Check Out Where The Students Live
The Andaman Center for Migrant Education is scheduled to open in July for the 2020 School Year. To begin preparing the students, we headed out with the teachers, and our friends from the Foundation for Education and Development (FED).
Typically, during the long summer break, students and families will travel back to Myanmar to visit family and friends and often times will stay. FED said that on average they will issue about 30 transfer certificates to students. Transfer certificates allow students that went to ACME to transfer to schools in Myanmar so they can continue their education. We are predicting that this year we will actually have an increase of students since many families were unable o travel back to Myanmar due to the Corona virus. This year when we were surveying we made sure to enforce social distancing when possible and also handed out health masks to the community.
The main purpose of student outreach is to:
1. Give information about ACME and to register returning students, new students and students participating in the continued education program (this is offered by FED for students that graduate 6th grade and want to continue onto 7th-9th grade)
2. Give information about pick up and drop off, a summary of the daily schedule and what curriculum is being taught.
3. Address questions and concerns of parents
4. Give information about the safeguarding Regulations that will be put in place when ACME opens to ensure children safety regarding the Corona virus
We survey the main areas that students live and often times are directed to new students by families we visit. It is a lot of personal conversation with families and trying to figure out where families have moved or where new students may be. Since we have built trust and respect within the local community it is easy to simply walk within the community and get an assessment of how many students we may have. Prominent community leaders also help us to find prospective students.
The main areas targeted were the fishing pier, where the majority of the students live. This area is tightly confined and does not allow for sanitary living conditions, but the students and parents always have a smile on their faces and show gratitude for what they have. Families at the pier are working on the fishing boats, and on land processing fish, squid and shrimp. We registered a lot of students independently as their parents are at work during the day or sleeping after working through the night. Then, we headed to the remote rubber and palm oil plantation areas that are within a 15 km area around ACME. These students are living in secluded conditions that are difficult to get to. The families are living on the plantations and tapping rubber trees or harvesting palm oil, very difficult work that needs to be done at long hours during the night. We also handed out masks to the community and gave basic information about the Corona virus. It was explained to parents that ACME will be enforcing safeguard regulations at the center to ensure the students are not at risk.
When we were surveying areas, we learned a lot about how the Corona virus has been affecting families within these marginalized communities. Many of them have not received any wages for 3 months before they were laid off from work, were not given any notice of being laid off and are not receiving any supplemental support from their employer or the government. Many fathers shared that they are scared they cannot provide for their families and often times do not have money to pay for food each day. Yet, they continue to persevere and are hoping that the situation will improve. FED was able to give information about their rights and have been extremely active in assisting them to make claims and complaints to the proper authorities in regards to receiving their wages. A lot of the parents said that this situation has made them appreciative that their children are able to receive an education at ACME so that they will have the possibility to get a good job that is more stable.