School Funding Proposal For Shan State Internally Displaced People (IDP)

1. Overview | 2. Support Problems | 3. Cost Estimates | 4. How To Donate

1. Overview

Funding is needed to provide a school and teachers for approximately 100 children of a village inside of Shan State (Northern Burma). Due to several issues specific to these people, most funding organizations will not support this project.

Four children

The cost of constructing a bamboo school building is $85, the monthly salary for two teachers is $110, and the monthly food support for a volunteer English teacher is $33. Supplies are estimated at $685 for administrative needs and 110 children for an entire year.

Construction will begin as soon as sufficient funds can be raised.

2. Support Problems

Financial help for schools, medical assistance, and food for refugees is often provided by "Non-Governmental Organizations" (NGOs). Support from these NGOs is contingent upon certain conditions.

Because of these conditions, NGO support for this school is difficult to obtain as outlined below.

2.1 Lack Of Refugee Status

Shan State, a Burmese controlled area in Northern Burma, is home to 8 million Shan people and 6 million other ethnic minorities. Although the Shan State Army is at war with the military that currently controls Burma, and over 400,000 people have fled into Thailand, Thailand does not recognize them as refugees.

The IDP village

Officially Thailand claims that since there are many ethnic Shan people who are Thai citizens, "You are like brothers, and are free to come and go as you please." However, many are still arrested and deported, and those that stay work in the fields for substandard wages.

In reality, Thailand will not recognize the Shan as refugees because the number of people that would flood across the border seeking help would be overwhelming.

Since they are not officially "refugees," it is much harder to get financial or food support from NGOs. They do not receive as much press or international recognition as the other "official" refugees in Thailand.

2.2 Lack Of Support For IDP

Even if the Shan were recognized as refugees, they would have to leave their country to receive support. When people move within their country to seek refuge they are called "internally displaced people" (IDP). None of the major NGOs will provide funds or supplies for IDP.

2.3 Close Proximity To Military Outpost

The IDP in question are located within a 40 minute walk from a Shan State Army (SSA) camp. The SSA is the rebel force which is currently fighting the Burmese military. The IDP need to stay close to the SSA for protection; most of them fled for safety when their villages were burned by the Burmese military. Furthermore, the SSA provides minimal food support (rice) for new families.

No NGO will support a military operation. Due to the IDP's reliance on the SSA for protection, they are unable to get assistance from any NGOs.

3. Cost Estimates

Start-up costs for the school are $770 (building and educational supplies). Monthly expenses for salaries and food are $88. Two Girls

3.1 Building Costs

Materials for the building (bamboo) can be found in the jungle. Labor will be provided by the villagers (IDP).

Since the villagers normally spend their time trying to feed their families, they need to be monetarily compensated for their time. Cost for the labor is $85.

3.2 Teacher Salaries

Two teachers are needed for the 100+ children. The monthly salary for a teacher is $55.

In addition, it is hoped that a volunteer English teacher can be found. Food support for this individual would be $33 per month.

3.3 Materials and Supplies

School supplies for a year are $5 for each child ($550 for 110 children). This will include pencils, paper, rulers, and language books.

Administrative costs and teacher supplies (2 white boards, pens, grade books, etc.) are $135 for the year.

Kids playing

4. How To Donate

Dr. Ben Brown of the Burmese Refugee Care Project (BRCP) has been kind enough to collect and pass on donations. Because your donation is to the BRCP, it is tax deductible.

To donate, please do the following:

  1. Make a check payable to "BRCP, Shan State School Fund".
  2. Mail your check to:
    BRCP, Shan State School Fund
    PO Box 1774
    Sebastopol, CA 95473
  3. Send me an email letting me know you donated (I don't care about the amount- leave that out) so that I can send you updates on the school in the future.

Thank you for your time and support for these children who would otherwise not receive an education.

More Pictures From The IDP Village

Interviews With Some Of The IDP

1. Overview | 2. Support Problems | 3. Cost Estimates | 4. How To Donate

Page Revised 6/4/00