Yes, I am making a birthday wish this year. I have determined that since I am officially living in extra time and who knows how many more of these I may have, I have decided that I want to share my birthday with organisations doing what I think is great work. So my wish this year is if any of you might support the awesome work of The Thai Freedom House in my name. I set the goal for $250. It is not much, but for this very hand to mouth, direct action organization, every little bit helps.
Let me tell you why I have fallen in love with this great organization in my time in Thailand. First it was the food. I feel in love with the food at Free Bird Cafe the cafe they run to support their education center. In fact, when I first heard of the cafe while in Bangkok, I just thought it was a great sounding cafe. And it was closed when I first tried to go, but once I did make it there I loved it immediately.
But my real love for the place grew exponentially when I found out just how much great work they were doing educating Shan Refugees from Burma and local hill tribe people, along with supporting refuge camps in the area. See, in Thailand refugees have to pay for school. And without The Thai Freedom House providing education for their students, well so many of these refugees would become part of a permanent underclass. And it is just that reason why Thai Freedom House was born, to ensure these students get and education to be able to succeed.
Just recently I was invited to see how successful they are when I got to see the graduation ceremony during the Shan New Year, two weeks ago. What impressed me the most was not the smiles on the kids faces, but the parents, who it seems totally understand the importance of education (such a difference from so many of the parents of the kids I used to teach in Brooklyn). It was a joy to watch the pride of doing well circulate from child to parent. The room that night was just magical.
My birthday wish is for more funds to teach more of these refugee kids and young adults so they can escape the permanent underclass status that many in Thailand seen quite happy to let them to fall into. I feel this is totally unacceptable. I hope you can see the importance of this and help them by wishing me a happy happy birthday.
So many thanks in advance.
And to see just how great one of their students are doing, check out this video of one of their students, Konchai, who is making inroads in the Shan pop world:
Just another reason why the world should be helping all refugees, thankfully Thai Freedom House is doing this to the best of their ability here in Chiang Mai.