Men, P. (2011) Education for human rights of Burmese migrant workers: a case study of DEAR Burma School

Title: Education for human rights of Burmese migrant workers: a case study of DEAR Burma School
Author: Pechet Men
Year: 2011
Keywords: Human rights, Study and teaching, Foreign workers, Burmese, Education, Democracy, Burma
Thai thesis available here.
Abstract: The aim of this research to examine the impact of education rights for Burmese migrant workers, especially non-formal education or vocational training. The objective of this paper is to identify the rights of migrant workers that non-formal education helps promote and protect. The case study is DEAR (Development of Education and Awareness of Refugees from Burma) Burma School which is a project of Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (TACDB). DEAR Burma school provides non-formal education to migrant workers particularly language skill training, English and Thai, general knowledge on labor rights, migrant worker’s rights, women rights, human rights, and computer skills. DEAR Burma has been established since 2003. There were 39 informants contacted for interview and two sessions of Focus Group Discussion are conducted with other 13 students. Burmese migrant workers in Thailand speak Burmese and their ethnic language. As Thai people do not understand these languages there are problems and misunderstandings which could cause arguments or conflicts. Moreover, the migrant workers are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. In particular, their rights as migrant workers are also restricted. In order to deal with these situations, they go back to school to receive education to improve their knowledge and security. The reasons why the participants came to DEAR Burma school so they can use their knowledge in their workplace, to communicate, to negotiate, to entertain, to access to information, and to look for a better job. According to the findings, education has positive impacts to migrant workers’ life. With regard to the informants, though Thailand does not sign this convention, their rights as migrant workers have been respectively improved. Their livelihood, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, self-esteem, and right to access to information has been promoted. Additionally, troubles with Thai police and humiliation by other people, which was of concern to them, have been less frequent. Some participants use their knowledge of language to negotiate with their boss to hold their own passport or to express their ideas, or to talk to police if they stop them. When migrant workers know more about their rights, they start to negotiate and challenge with unfairness, most importantly, to stand up themselves.

Contact MAIDS-Chula for more information and full thesis at maidschula@gmail.com

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